Chyna lived in the same house for seven years. Her mother gave birth to her inside that very home, and she had a family of her own. Everything changed when her owners moved and decided not to keep her.

Chyna was surrendered to the Hempstead Town Animal Shelter in Long Island, New York, on May 1st, 2016.

“A shelter no place for a senior dog,” volunteer Barbara Trevouledes says. When she first arrived, Chyna was quiet and withdrawn. She didn’t understand what had happened to her or where she was. The barking of the other dogs frightened her.

But when Barbara took Chyna to the play yard the first time, Chyna came to life. She no longer sat in the corner.

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She chased balls, darted back and forth, and rolled until her back was covered in grass.

Barbara can see glimpses of what Chyna would be like inside a home. She sees it when Chyna hears her voice and rushes to the back of her kennel to say hello. These are the happiest moments of her life.

After a good walk, Chyna plops on her tummy, her legs going back into a squat. Barbara calls them her “frog legs.”

The volunteer thinks Chyna was probably never truly loved. The senior dog believes the shelter is her new home, and Barbara is her new owner. She doesn’t realize that she deserves something more.

Recently, Chyna has started giving Barbara kisses when she clips on her leash. “Chyna won’t kiss just anyone,” the volunteer says, “and that’s what makes it so special when she does.”

Most people who come to the shelter looking for a dog want puppies. “It’s like they don’t even see Chyna,” Barbara explains.

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The volunteer firmly believes that there are never guarantees, especially when it comes to dogs. Whether they come into your life at the age of seven weeks or seven years, there’s no way of knowing how much time they have left.

And when it’s all said and done, the number of years don’t matter. What matters is how you spend them.

“You can give this dog a happiness she’s never had before,” Barbara says, “Chyna doesn’t know she’s old. She has a lot of life to enjoy.” She’s quiet for a while, then adds, “She’s taught me that you’re never too old to have fun.”

Barbara tries not to think too much about the people who dumped Chyna at the shelter after so long. “She was meant for someone else,” the volunteer tells me, “Someone who will appreciate her.”

If you are interested in adopting Chyna, please reach out via the Facebook page she shares with two other senior dogs at the Hempstead Town Animal Shelter.

You can also contact the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter at (516) 785-5220 or Find her details here, and follow the shelter itself on Facebook.

Header image via Cynthia Raven / Hempstead Town Animal Shelter