Friday, August 22, 2008
The Shelter Chronicles: Ana Banana
Ana is an 8 year old American Staffordshire terrier mix. Her coat is a blend of colors of black, brindle and white. The volunteers who know Ana are sure that she is probably younger than the stated 8 years perhaps because of her smile or perhaps because of her eagerness to play and frolic. Ana was picked up as a stray off the streets of Los Angeles and was brought to the West Los Angeles Animal Shelter on March 3, 2008.
There are many incredible volunteers who lovingly give of their time to the animals in the Los Angeles city animal shelters. Some of these amazing volunteers are at the West Los Angeles animal shelter. Their goal is to acquaint themselves with the animals and then work with them trying to prepare them for eventual adoption. Ana has become a very special dog to some of these volunteers. Ally, Ingrid, Riley, Judy and others have seen something very endearing in Ana, perhaps it is her joy or perhaps it is her resilience even after being confined in a cage for six months. Whatever the reasons may be, to them she is the most awesome of dogs. These four volunteers are just a few of the many who set aside numerous hours a week to be with dogs like Ana. They are the life line for these dogs and for many of these dogs the volunteers are the only friends that the animals have.
On a warm, humid Thursday afternoon in August word came that Ana was going to be euthanized and had already been transported to another shelter. Tears flowed and words of disbelief came from the volunteers who knew and loved Ana. For reasons not known this plan was reversed and Ana was returned to the West Los Angeles Shelter. There were smiles on the faces of the volunteers and Animal Care Technicians who knew and loved this giant pit bull. You couldn’t help but smile as you heard “Hi Ana Banana” coming from the volunteers who rushed to see her and who were overjoyed that Ana had returned. Ana Banana was back!!!
I was not familiar with Ana but on that August afternoon I had an opportunity to accompany Ally, one of our youngest and most dedicated volunteers, as she took Ana into the play area. I could see first hand the loving, playful nature of this beautiful animal. I could now see for myself why she had become such a special dog to so many of the volunteers. Ally loves this giant dog with her heart and soul. They have a bond of love and trust that was clearly evident as I watched the two of them together. Ana had a big smile on her face as she romped around the yard. Her eyes closed in peaceful pleasure as Ally scratched her back. You could see the sheer joy in the face of this dog as she and Ally played in the yard. Ana has been described as unpredictable but on this occasion in this safe, secure and non stressful environment she was just a happy dog who was experiencing a few moments of freedom and joy with one of her best friends.
Ana’s future is unknown at this time. It was hoped that a rescue group would take her but apparently that plan did not work out. It’s always good news when a rescue group adopts a dog because the feeling is that this dog will have a chance for life and perhaps a better chance for adoption. It is still the hope of all of the volunteers and shelter staff that Ana will find the right family because she so much deserves a chance to be happy. This is our wish for Ana Banana who has touched the hearts of so many at the West Los Angeles Animal Shelter.
Thank you to all of the volunteers who have made such a difference in the lives of dogs like Ana.
Written by Mirja Bishop on August 20, 2008