Editor’s note: We’re happy to report that Aria has been adopted! There are many more dogs hoping to find homes, too. Check out these adoptable pups here. 

A few weeks ago, a volunteer named Lori Wachsstock was walking through the hall at the Hempstead Town Animal Shelter in Long Island when she heard a rattling noise. The sound could only mean one thing: a dog named Aria was inside a crate, and she was wagging her tail against the bars.

Adoptable Aria

Source: Adopt Aria

Lori was the first person who walked Aria when she came to the shelter last summer. The volunteer remembers that initial meeting well. The dog was sweet, timid, and shy, hiding in the back of her kennel. Little by little, Lori convinced her to take treats from her hand.

Adoptable dog Aria

Source: Cynthia Raven / Adopt Aria

The volunteer learned with sadness that this is actually Aria’s third time at the shelter.

She was found as a stray in 2014, adopted, and returned when the owner could no longer care for her.

Related: 18-Year-Old Dog Surrendered To Shelter Just Wants To Be Held

When Aria was adopted the second time, everyone thought it was for life. She lived in a happy home for a year, and then her beloved owner died, and she found herself back in the shelter.

Adopt shelter dog Aria

Source: Adopt Aria

Lori never got to meet Aria’s former owner, the one who passed away, but she knows one thing for sure: that woman was loved.

On Aria’s third walk with Lori, the wagging started. The dog learned to recognize Lori’s voice, and every time she hears her footsteps, her tail raps against the crate in anticipation.

happy shelter dog on a walk in the woods

Source: Adopt Aria

Aria understands in a profound way what it means to be someone’s dog. She enjoys a good game of fetch like any dog, but her favorite moments are the ones she can spend in someone’s lap giving kisses.

Adoptable dog Aria smiles

Source: Adopt Aria

After all their walks, Lori makes a point of sitting down. Aria hops right into her arms. It’s their little ritual.

Related: ‘Most Loving Dog Ever’ Teaches Shelter Volunteer How to Trust

“There’s no meanness in this dog,” Lori says, “Even after all she’s been through, she just keeps smiling. She’s taught me resilience.”

dog on hike in the woods

Source: Cynthia Raven / Adopt Aria

Lori doesn’t mourn for Aria, because she believes the person who’s meant to have this dog will find her and come for her. She thinks Aria has been at the shelter three times because her real person, the one who was meant to have her forever, wasn’t ready yet.

happy dog on leash

Source: Cynthia Raven / Adopt Aria

When a dog is adopted, Lori says the first thing they usually do when they get to their new home is lie down. Right now, Aria lives in a crate and doesn’t get much sleep because of the constant barking and stress of the shelter.

Lori imagines her walking into her new home someday and plopping down on the floor, finally able to rest. Then she’ll wake up, and she’ll wag that tail more than she ever has before.

“I have this gut feeling,” Lori says, “She will find her family soon.”

dog on fall hike

Source: Adopt Aria

If you think you might be the person for Aria, reach out via her Facebook page or contact the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter at (516) 785-5220 or animalinfo@tohmail.org. You can follow the Hempstead Town Animal Shelter on Facebook.

Header images via Adopt Aria