Ava (ID# A1014637), a female Rottweiler at the West L.A. animal shelter, has several strikes against her as she waits for a new home.
For starters, she's a large dog in a city where little dogs reign, and she's a member of a much-maligned breed to boot. She's predominantly black, which means she faces the additional problem of the "black-dog bias" -- a phenomenon widely reported by shelter and rescue workers in which black dogs seem to be passed up by prospective adopters for no reason other than color. Thirdly, she's an older dog (she came to the shelter as a stray, meaning shelter staff have to use their best guess in the absence of medical records or information from owners, but they estimate her age at 12).
All of these "strikes" have added up to Ava remaining at the shelter for more than two months. This is a real shame, according to shelter volunteer Mirja Bishop, who has seen Ava's sweet nature emerge during her time at the shelter.
"Her days at the shelter are probably numbered because of the length of her stay," Mirja acknowledges (many dogs don't last as long as Ava has already). "The volunteers who know her best are heartbroken that this friendly, sweet dog who wants nothing more than to be buddies with a human pal may not find that person in time."
Ava (who was named for sultry actress and former Sinatra spouse Ava Gardner) looks and acts younger than her listed age would suggest, according to Mirja -- especially when she's allowed to run in the shelter's play yard or go for walks with volunteers in the nearby area. "She walks with perfect manners, sniffing as she goes and clearly enjoying those brief moments of freedom away from the shelter," Mirja says.
When she's back in her kennel, Ava is more serene, looking calmly and quietly at the people who pass by. But that serenity goes out the window when one of her volunteer friends stops by her kennel with leash in hand, Mirja is quick to point out: "She wiggles back and forth and is a happy, excited and enthusiastic girl."
Meet Ava at the West L.A. shelter, located at 11361 W. Pico Blvd. (near the intersection of Pico and Sawtelle boulevards), or call (888) 452-7381 with her ID number for more information.
UPDATE: Ava has been adopted. Congratulations Ava!
-- Lindsay Barnett
Photo: Los Angeles Department of Animal Services