At the Hempstead Town Animal Shelter in Long Island, a dog named Diamond sits in her kennel. She has a nickname, given to her by her friend Dawn Allen, a volunteer: The Invisible Little Dog.
Another volunteer, John Esposito, tells me, “I don’t think she has ever had one person interested in her.”
Diamond was surrendered last spring at the age of eight when her family no longer had the resources to care for her. “She was put into a strange place and left alone,” John says, “and she has no idea what hit her.” She’s been frightened ever since.
Nobody knows why she’s been so badly overlooked. Maybe it’s because the other dogs jump up and down in their kennels and bark when people walk past, while Diamond usually sits curled up in a ball in the back.
Still, once someone takes the time to get to know Diamond, it becomes clear that she is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of dog.
When they’re outside, Dawn and Diamond sit side-by-side, away from the noise of everyone else. Then the volunteer sings a song just for Diamond. The little dog looks at her, and she turns her head back and forth. Her ears perk up. She takes in every note.
“No one in my house lets me sing,” Dawn says with a laugh, “But Diamond lets me sing to her.”
Shelter volunteers have seen the way Diamond can turn a mundane moment into something magical.
John says his favorite time to walk Diamond is at dusk. As the sun hides beneath the clouds, he sits down with her at the nearby creek and watches the ducks float by. Across the way, they can see the shelter cemetery.
“I’ll gently start petting her, and she’ll look over, the whole world just stops right then,” he writes, “We try to give her brief little moments of happiness, and something as simple as a walk seems to do it for her, but they are no substitute for a loving home for a senior girl who is trying to sort out what happened to her and why.”
I’ve interviewed John about many dogs throughout the last year, but Diamond’s story makes him emotional in a way I haven’t seen before. Diamond has never had a single enquiry from an adopter, but as it turns out, everyone who passes her by misses a rare chance to be loved unconditionally.
Diamond isn’t a big licker, but one day, Dawn just got down on her knees and said to the dog, “Let me look at your face.” In response, Diamond gave her a single kiss. The volunteer will remember it as long as she lives.
This dog knows what it feels like to be all alone. She knows what it’s like to have a broken heart, and because of this, she has the unique ability to heal loneliness in others.
If Diamond is adopted, she will spent her whole life reminding her person that they are beloved and worthwhile.
“Diamond is the dog no one noticed,” Dawn says, “Now that I’ve noticed her, I will never forget her.”
If you are interested in adopting Diamond, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow the shelter itself on Facebook.
Header image via Cynthia Raven / The Golden Girls of TOHAS