Oscar

Oscar (formerly Fleche) shows off for “People”

He Gives Doomed Dogs Another Chance

“I did this be­cause of Buddy,” says Aliksanyan (referring to his miniature Ameri­can Eskimo, top right, and sur­rounded by dogs he’s rescued). “He’s my best friend.”

Alex Aliksanyan, 56

New York City

Big Jim, a 2-year-old 80-lb. Rottweiler, was about to be destroyed due to over­crowding at a West Virginia animal shelter last October when, with just 12 hours to spare, a lifesaving call arrived. The next night, new owners Jonathan Scott, 26, and Ashley Zimmerman, 24, treated their hungry dog to a steak dinner at their Herndon, Va., home. The reason for bringing Big Jim into their lives? “We saw that he was going to be killed,” says Scott, “and that broke our hearts.”

Score another victory for Alex Aliksanyan, creator of www.dogsindanger.com, which claims to have saved more than 3,100 canines since its launch. The site features pic­tures of condemned dogs from 324 cooperating shelters-and notes how much time they have left. “I want the truth in people’s faces,” says Aliksan­yan, 56. “The dog is going to die.”

Amber Holmes, the Hamp­shire County Animal Control adoption coordinator in Slanesville, W. Va., is a huge fan: “It’s pret­ty much the last hope for these dogs.” But the American Society for the Pre­vention of Cruelty to Animals has con­cerns. “Guilt or emotional blackmail is never a good reason to bring a dog into your home,” says Gail Buchwald, ASPCA senior vice president.

Still, Big Jim’s saga convinces Alik­sanyan he’s on the right track: “It makes me realize I’ve made a difference.”

Photograph by ANDREW BRUSSO

By Nicole Weisensee Egan