The quilt measures 64" x 71"


A dreadlocked, emaciated stray was found dodging traffic along the busy Palisades Parkway in New Jersey.  Taken in by ATCMNY Rescue, Macabee was vetted, groomed, neutered and examined by a veterinary opthamolgist.  Progressive Retinal Atrophy had left him totally, irreversibly blind in both eyes.  The vet estimated he was at least 7 years old.

Surviving along that busy road would have been miracle enough for any Airedale, but that he was blind, made it even more miraculous.  But now Mac would  need another adopter who would take on an older dog with his handicap.

And just then the phone rang.  It was an adoption applicant and I mentioned this sightless old dog to them.  Joe and Bette lived on the 3rd floor of an apartment building in the East Village and were retired.  They would like to meet Mac.

I brought him for a visit and they fell in love with the beautiful dog out on the sidewalk.  Mac had trouble, of course, the first time going up and down the stairs, but after several trips while we were there, he quickly learned to use the back of Joe's leg as a guide and to go slowly instead of of leaping 2 or 3 stairs at a time. By the time I left that day, he was going up and down the stairs like he'd been doing it for years.  A short leash kept him close as he ambled down the sidewalks, where he visited his favorite hydrants.

Mac was a handsome Airedale and visiting him in this small apartment you would never guess he couldn't see.  He was a happy, upbeat dog, who loved his walks, including sitting on the bench with Joe and Bette outside the French cafe where he greeted his admirers, both human and canine.

Betty, Joe and Mac sitting outside the local French cafe
Please excuse the poor quality of the photo, but it is a picture of a photo in one of my old articles for the ATCMNY newsletter.  That was before I had digital capability and when I moved to Maryland, I didn't keep the old photos.

About 2 years later, I got a call from Bette.  Joe had died suddenly and Bette was moving in with her daughter.  She could not take Mac with her and could I help.  It was at a time when my cousin, whom I lived with, was dying and I couldn't keep him with me.  But after a quick call to Barbara Curtiss of NEAR in Connecticut explaining the situation, she said she'd foster him and find him a home.  I went to NYC and picked up Mac and delivered him to Barbara's.  He was eventually adopted.  Despite his handicap, he had a winning personality and it was hard to believe that he couldn't see.

An angel was watching over Mac the day a motorist stopped and picked him up on the side of the parkway, and I believe that God sends the right home for the hard to place dogs just when you need it.

And Barbara Curtiss wrote:  Mac came here as a foster, and I figured, yeah, right, a 9 year old blind dog, he's not going anywhere...but being a sucker for the oldsters, I welcomed him.  I was nervous about having a blind dog come into a house he didn't know already, and to be with the other Airedales already living here (what if he stumbles over a sleeping dog??).  We have stairs, and small rooms, and wood floors.  We tried to figure how to pad the sharp angles, and bought a book about living with a blind dog (put a certain scent on door frames or furniture to help him know where he is, and outside make a trail of scent for him to mosey around on, which will lead him around the yard and back to the door).  Well, Mac taught us more than the book did.  He was amazing.  When he walked straight into a wall, he'd back up, move a bit to a different direction, and simply try again to get where he wanted to go.  It was such an Airedale attitude, if a wall gets in your way, figure out how to get around it!

Walking him on a leash was great.  He walked right along as nimble as the others.  Once I saw a rabbit cross our path in the far distance.  When Mac and I got to that spot, he suddenly pulled off in the direction the rabbit had gone.  That's when I really understood how dogs have another sense that we can't begin to know, he didn't need sight to "see."  I think of that experience often, every time I walk a dog and s/he jerks around sniffing here and there, I know that they are "seeing" things that are invisible to me and how frustrating it must be for them to have to keep going in my straight line.

But I did find an adopter for Mac after only a month.  A repeat adopter, drove 3 hours here to come for him, and Mac went off to be the 5th and most beloved Airedale the Donnellys had ever owned.  How John loved to go for walks with Mac, people stopping to admire the handsome Airedale, John not telling them until they were about to part that Mac was sightless. No one ever realized that (one good thing about the Airedale coat is that if the dog's eyes are clearly milky blind, or even removed, you can leave the eyebrows so long that they cover the eyes like a sheepdog's).  And John was adamant...Mac was not blind, he was sightless.  John wanted everyone to understand the difference, that the inability to see images had nothing to do with Mac's vision of the world and its people, he was not blind, he just couldn't see the trees or humans.

The Donnellys had one adjective to describe Mac..."inspirational."  Indeed he was, his drive to live life to the fullest, undeterred by a handicap, truly inspired everyone who met him.  He could happy dance with the best of them, he loved meeting new people and sniffing other dogs, if a wall got in his way, he just stepped back and figured out another way to move forward. 

All online ticket donations end at 8 PM EDT on Monday, Sept. 30th at 8 PM EDT.  After that, you can get your quilt and bonus tickets in person on Thurs., Oct. 3rd at 5 PM at the Hospitality Room of the headquarters hotel or on Sunday, Oct. 6th from the Quilt Display Tent located in the vicinity of the Airedale ring at the show site up until just before the drawing.

**Remember Incentive #14 ends on Monday, 
Sept. 30th at 8 PM EDT.**

There is also $15,000 Milestone Incentive for the person who puts us at the $15,000 mark before the end of online ticket donations on Sept. 30th.


  1. What a very special Dale Mac is! Bless all of his helpers along the way ♥

  2. What an inspirational story about Mac! and thanks to all the helpers he encountered, seems like he repaid everyone with his charm and love. I'm sure I have the winning ticket for this quilt!