When it comes to love, it’s the slow and steady that wins the heart and that’s exactly what happened with this man.
One look at the sparkly, droopy, large eyes of a furry being and your heart is sure to melt. Something similar went down at the Austin Pets Alive! (APA) pet shelter when Joe Rotunda saw Alva for the first time on Instagram. Alva lives with wobbler syndrome, which restricts her mobility and she arrived at APA in November 2020 at just five months old, per KVUE. She had a tough time doing simple movements like moving, walking and standing, along with being infested with fleas. When she came back to the shelter in March 2022, it was because she had developed a defensive, territorial and fearful nature because of the movement limitations that she was born with. She tended to steer clear of others and keep herself at a safe distance.
However, when it’s a matter of true love, all walls come crashing down and that’s exactly what happened when Rotunda’s eyes met Alva’s for the first time through social media. That’s it, there was no looking back for Rotunda and he proceeded to pay daily visits to APA for two months to gain Alva’s trust. He found himself falling hard for her and even put up a picture of her on the photo wall of all the dogs that he’s been in love with. He shared with APA, “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 was fixated on the fact that while the APA community of volunteers and staff were working hard to get Alva back in her confident groove and comfort with her physical limitations, it would only be his home that she went to. He expressed his deep desire to have Alva at his home, “She has won me over in ways I didn't expect. So glad it happened."
His efforts to win Alva’s trust and companionship succeeded and Alva finally became a full-time foster and family member at Rotunda’s home. He even went through the work of modifying his home to make it more accommodating and accessible for Alva. He built her an outside ramp, installed barriers to block his living room, allowing Alva the space to explore and also placed kennels for her to recuperate.
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Since the first picture of Alva on Rotunda’s dog wall, the love between the two has grown to three pictures and a whole lot of comfort at Rotunda’s home, finding friendship in a furry being as well. He further revealed, “Alva gave me a gift every time I saw her and that was: inspiration. It is her spirit that is so infectious, she shines and nothing gets in her way.” Rotunda seems so smitten by Alva’s charm that he is convinced that even Alva doesn’t know how “different” she is. Well, looks like Rotunda and Alva found their soulmates in each other, while half of the world is searching for one. Maybe we need to switch from dating apps to pet shelters, eh?