Man Visits Shelter Dog Every Day For Months To Convince Her To Let Him Adopt Her

"I just looked at her and said, 'I bet everyone has given up on you. I'm not going to do that to you.'”

When Alva was adopted in 2020, her rescuers at Austin Pets Alive! thought she’d found her happy ending. But, unfortunately, she was returned in 2022. Alva has wobbler syndrome, a neurological condition that affects the spine and neck. It comes with physical limitations, and these caused Alva to become defensive and fearful. Her rescuers were worried she would struggle to find her forever home — until Joe Rotunda came along.

From the moment Rotunda saw Alva on Instagram, he was in love. The shelter staff explained about Alva and her fearfulness, but Rotunda didn’t care. He decided he'd do whatever was needed to gain Alva’s trust, because he knew she was worth it.

dogs
Karen Hardwick

For two months, Rotunda visited Alva at the shelter every single day. He sat and talked with her, showing her that she could trust him and falling more in love with her each day.

"I just looked at her and said, 'I bet everyone has given up on you. I'm not going to do that to you,’” Rotunda told Austin Pets Alive!.

dogs
Karen Hardwick

After working with the rescue’s training staff and gaining Alva’s trust, Rotunda was finally able to take her home. He transformed his entire living space for her, including building an outside ramp, blocking off his living room so she has a safe space to move about, and adding kennels for her to decompress in. He and Alva are still dedicated to her training, and she’s already made so many huge strides.

dogs
Karen Hardwick

“People tell me it must be hard work, but I keep telling folks that she has given me far more than I have given her," Rotunda said.

dogs
Karen Hardwick

Alva now loves to explore and even has a friend to play with — things her friends at the shelter worried might never be possible for her. With Rotunda by her side, though, there isn’t anything Alva can’t do.

dogs
Karen Hardwick

“Alva gave me a gift every time I saw her, and that was: inspiration,” Rotunda said. “It is her spirit that is so infectious, she shines, and nothing gets in her way.”

To help other dogs like Alva, you can donate to Austin Pets Alive!.