For three long years Ava was neglected instead of being cherished. Her owner then callously abandoned her in a desolate area in Melbourne’s north.
“Ava’s been neglected her entire life. Not once was she bathed, groomed or treated with any kindness. She was absolutely terrified of being handled – which just goes to show the utter cruelty she suffered at the hands of the person supposed to care for her,” stated Sue Conroy, the Home’s General Manager
“Her owner showed no regard for her. By dumping her they were basically condemning her to death. She wouldn’t have survived if we hadn’t found her.”
Brought into the Home’s North Melbourne shelter by animal ambulance, Ava was checked for injuries and then, having made sure she didn’t need urgent vet care, she was given a full body clip and bath.
But her fear of being handled meant freeing her from the putrid, flea-infested, matted mess of hair wasn’t easy. It took time and gentle words from experienced groomer Cas before Ava was calm enough to be safely clipped.
What emerged from underneath a lifetime’s-worth of unkempt coat – so tangled and thick it was rigid – was a skinny, timid Maltese mix.
“We see far too many long-haired dogs coming in to us in this condition. The discomfort they experience from being trapped under a prison of hair and unable to move freely; suffering from skin conditions or fleas…it’s appalling,” commented Sue.
“Ava’s extreme shyness, fear of being handled and lack of socialisation indicates she was kept in the dog equivalent of solitary confinement all her life. It’s utterly heartbreaking,” commented Nicole Beasley, who heads up our behaviour rehab program.
Under Nicole’s guidance and expertise, Ava’s learnt to walk on a lead (“she freaked out the first time I clipped a light leash on her”), understands basic obedience cues, is gaining confidence each day and now happily plays with other dogs.
“Ava was extremely fearful of men to begin with,” Nicole explained. “Our male staff members have been instrumental in helping her overcome this. By feeding her treats, she now associates men with good things – so much so that she’ll cheekily approach any man, expecting a treat!”
“She’s a bright little girl who loves company, so she’s best suited to someone who can ensure she’s given all the attention and love she needs. They must also commit to regular grooming appointments.”
To welcome Ava into your home and give her the love and companionship she was denied for so long, please call our North Melbourne shelter on 03 9329 2755 and quote Animal ID 915484.
We feel Ava will be happiest as the only dog, or with a confident, well-socialised small dog.
UPDATE: We are happy to say that Ava has found a wonderful new home! We hope to hear from her new family soon!