When Frisby was picked up off the streets of Long Island last year, he was still a puppy — and he reminded everyone at the Hempstead Town Animal Shelter of a little bowling ball. He’s been at the shelter ever since, and he’s grown. Even though Frisby is now closer to the size of a beach ball than a bowling ball, he still feels safest in someone’s lap.

Frisby on Alexis's lap Source: Alexis Puccio / Hempstead Town Animal Shelter

Frisby on Alexis’s lap. Source: Alexis Puccio / Hempstead Town Animal Shelter

The first time shelter volunteer Alexis Puccio met Frisby, she knew he was special. “Who’s that little lowrider?” were the first words out of her mouth. At the end of his short, round body, Frisby has a tail unlike any tail in the world. He broke it at its base, probably while he was a stray, and it’s healed in the shape of a corkscrew.

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And Frisby has a once-in-a-lifetime personality to go with his quirky looks. He doesn’t just walk through the trail like most dogs; when Frisby is on an adventure, he has to sniff each and every plant.

Even though he lives most of his life in a small, enclosed kennel, Frisby finds a reason to cherish life. In the beginning, Alexis had to be careful about even letting him in the shelter play yard, not because he was misbehaved, but because he’d get so excited to be outside he couldn’t contain it.

He’d zoom back and forth, full speed, with the biggest grin spread across his face. He’d rub against Alexis’s side, lean into her, and then, always, he’d plop right into her lap.

Related: One By One, Rescue Dog Puts Each Of Her Puppies In Foster Mom’s Lap

No one knows if Frisby ever lived in a home, but when he came to the shelter, he didn’t know what he was supposed to do with toys. And even now that he’s discovered the joys of playing, he doesn’t like to play when he’s alone. If possible, he prefers to be physically touching Alexis or another volunteer while he enjoys a good squeaky toy.

Frisby on the toy box Source: Alexis Puccio / Hempstead Town Animal Shelter

Frisby on the toy box. Source: Alexis Puccio / Hempstead Town Animal Shelter

In his months at the shelter, Frisby has learned many things, including: how to stay calm in the play yard, how to find toys (even when they’re up on someone’s desk), and how to make people proud.

He’s also learned to recognize the sounds of his volunteers’ footsteps; when he hears Alexis in the distance, he lets out a tiny bark, as if to say, “I’m over here!”

Still, one thing hasn’t changed at all. For a dog who spent much of his life on the streets, a warm lap is the most comforting place in the world. No matter how big he grows, and no matter wherever he goes, Frisby will never forget that.

Related: This Once-In-A-Lifetime Dog Has Been At The Shelter For Years

When she pats him on the head and says goodbye for the week, Alexis sometimes imagines Frisby’s future. She sees for a him a real home and a real family — far away from his painful past. “He’s a hidden gem,” she tells me, “He’s a velcro dog.” By that, she means he’ll stick to his people. He’ll follow them — whether they’re traveling from one room to the next or to the ends of the earth.

If you’re interested in meeting Frisby, please reach out to the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter at (516) 785-5220 or animalinfo@tohmail.org. Find his details here, and follow the shelter itself on Facebook.

Header image via Alexis Puccio / Hempstead Town Animal Shelter