Shine Bright Like a Diamond

More than a year and a half ago, Diamond came to me from a shelter in Andalusia, Alabama. Prior to her arrival here, Diamond had been living in that shelter for quite some time... with no adoption requests. 

You see... Diamond is a Pit Bull mix, which greatly reduces her chances of adoption in the first place. But beyond the "Pit Bull" label... Diamond is also a special needs dog: she's deaf, which reduces her "adoptability" even further.

Therefore, dogs like Diamond are usually labeled as "Unadoptable" by shelters. In other words, dogs like Diamond are almost-always euthanized.

However, the shelter director, Christin, had fallen in love with Diamond, so she just couldn't bear the thought of something happening to her. That being said... she also couldn't justify keeping Diamond in the city shelter any longer, considering the length of time she'd been there... with zero interest from adopters. Sooo... Christin decided to post Diamond on Pet Pardons, in the hopes that an adopter or an animal rescue group would come forward to take this sweet girl.

Shortly thereafter... someone did step forward. I did. 

And since the shelter director, Christin, just-so-happens to be a friend of mine (as well as an amazing woman, who I've written about in the past), I was really excited for the chance to help Diamond... while also helping my sweet friend in the process.

So, on Christin's birthday, I sent her a message and said: "You have an offer for Diamond! It's from me :) Happy Birthday, Christin!" 

Christin called me crying-- tears of joy-- and of course, I cried too. She said: "Ashley, I can never, ever thank you enough! This is the best birthday present ever!" 

So, long story short, Diamond was transported to me in Meridian, where she officially became a "Lucky Dog." 

Diamond & I, in her new home
Of course, Diamond quickly stole my heart, with her fun personality, her precious smile, and her hilarious antics. I'm telling you... Diamond can literally make me laugh-out-loud, on a daily basis. Beyond that, she's super-smart! (In other words: she learned to play me like a friggin' fiddle.)

Here's a classic Diamond example: One day, Diamond wasn't quite ready to come inside, so I used some treats to coax her. Big mistake. From that day forward, Diamond would ONLY come inside, when treats were involved. And if you don't have a treat on you... you better go find some... because she's not coming inside without one (or two... or seven...). 

During my time with Diamond, I've been able to watch her learn and grow, which has been truly amazing for me, and for her. And while I realized that she'd likely be with me for longer than some of the other rescue dogs (due to her special needs), I had to believe that the perfect family would find her some day. 

Well... guess what? Today... was that day

Let me back-track for a sec: last week, I was contacted by a family who was extremely interested in adopting my Diamond. And in talking with them further, something in my heart told me that this was the perfect family for her. 

Jackie & Diamond
Especially when I asked the mom, Jackie, this question: "What was it about Diamond that drew you to her?" 
Her response: "Honestly, it's the fact that she's deaf. We already have one deaf dog living in our home now, and she's my heart!! So I've learned a lot about caring for dogs who are deaf, and through that experience, I've become especially fond of the special needs babies. When I saw Diamond's picture, I instantly fell in love with her face. So, when I read that she's also deaf, I just knew she was the one for our family." 

While I could totally relate to what this woman was saying (clearly, I feel the same way about the special needs dogs), it's insanely rare for me to hear those words, from the mouth of a potential adopter. As I've said, special needs dogs are some of the most difficult dogs to place, because their "disabilities" are usually a massive turn-off to most adopters. When it comes to Diamond, the fact that she's deaf... is the primary reason that she's been with me for so long.  

So... to hear an adopter say: "We want to adopt her, BECAUSE she's deaf" ... was just like: wow! Especially knowing that the family already has personal experience in caring for a deaf baby like Diamond. It was just... more than I could've asked for!

Today, Diamond and I drove more than an hour to meet the family and conduct a home visit. When Jackie met Diamond for the first time, she knew... and I knew. They were meant to be. And when Diamond met the family's other dogs, I was amazed at how well she fit in with them. Everything was just... perfect!

So, obviously, I was thrilled to approve the adoption! 
But that meant... it was time for me... to say goodbye.

As I always do, I warned the family that I'd be emotional as I left. I said: "When I start crying like a baby --which will be any second now-- please just know... it's only because I'm going to miss her so much. But also know... that this is why I saved her... so she could have this moment, and this incredible future, with you."

Then, before I turned to leave, Jackie stopped me, and said: "This will probably sound a little crazy, but we're big on celebrating birthdays, including the dogs' birthdays. Do you happen to know when Diamond's birthday is?"

Tears filled my eyes, as I responded: "I do know. It's today. Because today is the day when it all begins for her."

With that, I leaned down, gave Diamond one more kiss, and whispered: "Happy Birthday, baby girl." 

I wiped my tears, looked at Jackie, and simply said: "Thank you." We hugged, then, I turned to go....

Of course, you know me... I cried the whole way home. 
Diamond's new brother & sister

When I got back, I received a text from Jackie's young daughter. It said: "Miss Ashley, thank you again for my new best friend! I love her so much! Thank you!!!"

I responded: "You're welcome, sweet girl! Also, just remember: Diamond may be deaf, but she's able to hear the words 'I love you.' So make sure you tell her often. She doesn't listen with her ears; she listens with her heart."

With that... I smiled, as I grabbed Diamond's folder... and filed it under ADOPTED!