Ava the advenure dog

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I found Ava at an animal shelter in Red House, West Virginia. West Virginia is the kind of place you wouldn’t want to find yourself as an animal. There are stray dogs everywhere. People tie up their animals outside and do the bare minimun of throwing food at them. It’s sickening. A pack of stray dogs may even follow you if you go for a walk.

My grandparents live in Poca, West Virginia, and I was living with them at the time. I would drive to Red House during my days off from work and walk the dogs. I noticed a few of them would just disappear. Every day five or more people would come in to drop of animals they just found running around.

I asked a man bringing in a chocolate lab why he couldn’t just find the dog a home himself, and he said he thought the dog would have a better chance at the shelter. I told him the shelter was full, and they were going to kill one of the dogs tonight to make room, and he just shrugged.

I found a coon-dog named Ducky that loved to hike, but was a lot of dog. A few hours later a shelter worker pointed Ava out. He asked if I had met this dog yet, and I said no. As soon as I picked her up, she melted into my arms and looked right up at me. I was in love.

I asked the handful of people I had met while in West Virginia if anyone could watch a dog for me. I knew my grandparents were more likely to shoot the dog I’d just met than tolerate my impulsive decision.

I paid a girl to take care of Ava for a month, and I brought her with me when I moved back home after that month. She was mine, and the adventure began.

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It took about a year to train her enough for me to trust her. She tried to run away from every loud sound. She cowered on the ground in fright if I moved too quickly, and my heart broke when I learned that doggy depression is a real thing. She would curl up in a ball all day and sleep, but not in a lazy dog way. It was her way of recovering from her past life.

She helped me just as much as I helped her.

We’re living life together, and I decided that the rest of her years would get priority over everything in my life. I don’t want to go anywhere without her.

Since I’ve had her, we’ve volunteered on farms in Norway, lived out of a tent for three weeks on an island in the Oslo Fjord, watched many sunrises on top of mountains, hitchhiked, slept on couches and floors, and woken up to a herd of wild ponies stampeding around us at the Grayson Highlands.

Ava related reading:

How My Dog Teaches Me To Be Present

How I Prepared For Taking My Dog On a Plane + Everything I Packed For Her

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