All shelter dogs dream of one thing: a real home with someone who loves them. But for T-Bone, you can see that dream in everything he does.

Dawn Allen, a volunteer at the shelter, was walking the wiggly little dog one day when he stopped right in the middle of the sidewalk to stare at a figure in the distance. School had been let out for the day, and a boy was riding his bicycle home.

T-Bone, who normally wags and sniffs and plays whenever he’s outside, wouldn’t budge. He looked at the boy on the bicycle until he turned into a tiny dot on the horizon and disappeared.

In that moment, Dawn understood. T-Bone had thought the boy was someone he knew before he arrived at the shelter. Not much is known about his former family, but Dawn could see plain as day that T-Bone thought the boy might be coming to bring him home.

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That night, it was especially hard for Dawn to tuck T-Bone into his kennel and say goodbye.

It still stings when the volunteer remembers that moment, especially as she watches the months tick by on the calendar. T-Bone has been at the shelter since 2014.

Dawn recently had surgery, and she was unable to visit the shelter for about three weeks. Still, she thought of T-Bone every single day, and when she finally returned today, the petite white dog gave her the biggest welcome back celebration she’d ever received.

Most dogs wag their tails back and forth. T-Bone’s tail spins around in circles. “It’s like a fan,” Dawn explains, and it’s one of the purest expressions of love she’s ever received: “It just made me feel so special.”

Dawn can’t understand why T-Bone has been so thoroughly overlooked in his time at the shelter, but because he has been, she makes a point of letting him know someone cares.

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Every day when she comes in, she walks past his cage, and she makes him a promise. No matter how many dogs she has to walk that day, she swears she will make some time for him at the end.

When T-Bone is adopted, Dawn says she’ll miss seeing his face waiting for her at the corner of his cage. But she won’t miss the fact that he’s in a cage.

This dog, whom she calls her “itty bitty guy,” was destined to be part of a family. He’s always known that, and he’s spent his whole life preparing to make someone proud.

If you are interested in adopting T-Bone, please contact the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter at (516) 785-5220 or You can also reach out via his Facebook page. Find his details here, and follow the shelter itself on Facebook.

Header image via Love That T-Bone