‘Fairy Tale’ Ends With Neglected, Bonded Airdale Duo Finding Their Happily Ever After

The following story is a finalist in the Rescue to Royalty Challenge. Three grand prize winners will receive a $250 shopping spree, while a shelter of their choosing will be awarded $2,000 in cash and needed supplies! You can vote for your favorite story here through May 8!

Airedales are known as “King of the Terriers,” so it is fitting that our rescue story happens to be a bit of a Royal Airedale fairy tale. Read on, and I’ll introduce you to our heroes and heroines and two dales’ amazing transformation.

January in North Texas. It surprises some how brutally wicked Arctic cold fronts can be here, often bringing with them a deluge of rain and ice that turns the ground to slop. It was in such a January that Texas Airedale Rescue Team (TART) got the message that a senior couple had submitted an application to surrender their bonded pair of Airedales, Rocky and Missy. TART scheduled a surrender interview and learned their story.


Rocky and Missy were roughly 6-and-a-half and 7 years old. They had been bought as puppies to breed and had spent their entire lives in a small, outdoor chicken-wire pen. Rocky was unable to sire, so the two never had puppies. Instead, this sweet Airedale couple spent day after day, year after year, ignored in their dirt floor pen as if they were livestock.

They endured not just bitter winters but also the excruciatingly hot Texas summers our Lone Star State is infamous for. And let’s not forget to mention the torrential rains, flooding and tornados of spring. Rocky and Missy were fed their kibble through a feeder. A run-down pickup camper shell with a missing door was their only escape from the extreme elements. Their exposure to human contact was basically zero. Rocky and Missy had only each other for companionship and comfort.

Their owner indicated that with so much rain, Rocky had been managing to escape his pen. Health issues were making it difficult for him to retrieve Rocky once he was loose. He had put Rocky in an even smaller, more secure pen to try to solve the problem, but Rocky and Missy were miserable being separated and the owner grew annoyed at their constant vocal pleas to be placed back together. It was at this point he decided to surrender them both to TART. We found out their home was on a rural property adjacent to a highway. To add insult to injury, the reason he gave for surrendering was not his fear Rocky would get hit by a car, but rather Rocky might cause a wreck and he might get sued.


Rocky and Missy had never lived indoors, never received human affection, never had toys, and never saw a groomer. The current owner administered some vaccines himself, so their medical care had few formal records. In their isolation, they had no reason in the world to have endearing feelings for humans.

A couple of days after the surrender interview, three TART volunteers braved the cold and went to personally meet Rocky and Missy. The goal was to assess their dispositions, health and overall needs in order to develop a rescue plan. Under the circumstances, TART’s expectations were low. What we weren’t expecting was to be so thoroughly captivated by these two large and happy personalities who completely lapped up the attention and interaction from their visitors. Every volunteer was ABSOLUTELY SMITTEN and described watching the very evident love between them as a true privilege. Rocky was extremely protective of Missy, never wanting her to leave his sight, and treating her like a rare, precious treasure.

You’ve probably figured out by now that Rocky and Missy are the captive King and Queen in this Airedale fairy tale, imprisoned in a dark, dank chicken-wire dungeon. And in typical fairy tale fashion, TART had lots of dragons to slay in order free them from captivity. There were no medical records available for us to get them groomed or boarded. No willing fosters seemed likely, and it was difficult generating interested adopters for them because so much of their personality, behaviors and temperament were unknown. BUT, people began to follow their story online.


In the midst of so many obstacles, from the horizon, one by one, knights in shining armor appeared to turn this story around. A transporter stepped up almost immediately, TART just needed a place for them to go. Next, a talented groomer with a heart for rescue and her colleague, a kennel owner, worked closely with TART to get our couple polished to perfection and on to a reputable vet. Then, miracle of miracles, a foster couple raised their hand to take both dales in to their nice home, knowing neither had any indoor living experience.

Rocky and Missy immediately blossomed in their new foster environment and took to living in this comfy “castle” as though they had been there all their lives. Their transformation from being isolated in dirt pens to being loved-on, pampered indoor dogs, sleeping on comfy beds each night, was completely inspirational to all who were following their story. And, it happened to catch the eye of our last hero and heroine who turned out to be the ultimate champions of Rocky and Missy’s story.

This couple, a dog-loving, Airedale experienced dynamic duo, wanted both Rocky and Missy to join their family and live in their lovely kingdom forever. They offered them love, care, security, huge grounds AND even a couple of Airedale siblings. We could not have wished for a more perfect ending to this story.

Rocky and Missy’s transformation was complete. Who knew fairy tales could come true and lead the way to happily-ever-afters of Airedale proportions?

This story was submitted by Lisa Sheppard in support of Texas Airedale Rescue. You can read more Rescue to Royalty Challenge stories and vote for your favorite here!

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