There’s nothing in the world like seeing Ice run. For the staff and volunteers at the Hempstead Town Animal Shelter in Long Island, it’s pure joy. As her trainer Al puts it, “There’s a certain magic to her.”

Ice spent the first two years of her life tied to a tree in someone’s yard. She was not allowed inside at any point, and she spent many days wet and cold in the snow and rain.

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Her former owners brought her to the shelter two years ago on a particularly bitter winter. She was terrified and confused.

Ice is kept warm and dry in the shelter, but she still doesn’t know what it’s like to roam free. When her shelter friends take her out into the play yard, she beams with happiness.

Al suspects she has some greyhound in her blood. No other dog could sprint and play so beautifully.

Al’s worked with many dogs, and he tries not to get too emotionally involved, but Ice is an exception. She wants to learn new things, and she’s smart as can be.

In fact, Al has taught her some advanced parkour moves, like jumping off of a wall, and she loves making people proud.

Ice has taught me patience,” the trainer says. This is a dog who probably never experienced human kindness before arriving at the shelter, but she’s shown everyone that love is stronger than cruelty.

In the beginning, Ice didn’t understand what toys were for, but now she loves chasing balls and playing tug.

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Al remembers the first time she hopped up on the bench and gave him a kiss during one of their walks: “It was like she was giving me a present.”

Because of her playful personality, Ice still struggles in the shelter. She had to be put in a special, fully enclosed kennel due to repeated attempts to jump out of the cage.

Al recognizes that his friend is not living the life she was meant to have. Ice was built to be with people.

The other day, Al got to visit another dog he worked with in her new home. This dog had been at the shelter for years, and he was moved to see her thriving.

A part of him couldn’t help but think about Ice, still in the shelter in her little kennel. Ice has no way of knowing how much of the world she’s never had the chance to explore.

He imagines her meeting her person and having a place of her own, a home without chains, somewhere she can finally be free.

If you are interested in meeting Ice, please reach out via Ice’s Facebook page or contact the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter at (516) 785-5220 or You can follow the Hempstead Town Animal Shelter on Facebook.

Header images via Cynthia Raven / Hempstead Town Animal Shelter

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