A few months ago, Danielle Hopper put out a call to action on behalf of a sweet and grunty 8-year-old pit bull who'd spent nearly four years at New York's Middletown Humane Society -- the shelter at which Hopper was a volunteer.
Mira was about 4 years old when she got to the shelter as a stray. At MHS, Mira was fawned over by shelter staff -- who speculated that maybe her size or her big blocky head were deterring potential adopters.
Then as the years passed, Mira's age likely became a factor as well.
This dog kept her big pit bull smile. She didn't seem displeased with her situation.
But Hopper wanted more for Mira.
"My goal for 2015 is to get the girl just what she deserves: a forever home where she'll never have to worry about ending up in a shelter ever again. 2015 is going to be the year for Mira," Hopper wrote at the time, in a moving Facebook post.
That post was widely shared and written about, and soon found its way to Jonathan Fayden and Victoria Cassesi-Fayden, who live in Chester, New York.
The couple was entranced by what they'd read and decided to visit Mira at the shelter. That meeting went very well.
"I had asked the wife if Mira was everything she had thought she'd be. And when she said 'No, she's so much more,' I knew they were the ones," said Hopper.
"I think we felt it was the right decision for all of us, at first sight," said Fayden. They took her home on April 17.
Fayden says that, in the months since, Mira has come to love sleeping in; her new human parents have to roust her for her morning walks.
"Mira then has her toys, a bed and sometimes a couch to sleep on, which she loves to do," he said. "Victoria gets home before I do, so she takes care of the afternoon walking, feeding and playing. Then I come home and we play some more. She likes to run, so we play ball."
Mira wiggles with excitement on a daily basis. Car rides are her absolute favorite.
And "when we kneel down to pet her, she climbs in our lap and makes grunting noises, as if to say 'that feels good,'" Fayden said.
Mira living joyfully with her very own people would have been a wonderful happy ending. A story of Mira finally getting the break she deserves thanks to a group of humans who saw her for what she is: good and worthy.
But recently, Mira's tale got even better.
Hopper, who is now a full-time employee of the shelter, has been going through a recent rough spell and was feeling pretty low.
Her best friend, Kay Grinder, thought seeing Mira might do some good, and called Fayden about making arrangements.
The plan got rather complicated -- at one point Fayden made it seem that Mira was having allergies, which gave Hopper a scare that Mira might be headed back to the shelter -- but eventually, Fayden got to the point.
"He asked me if I wanted to come visit Mira that week," Hopper said. "I told Kay, and she had told me how she wanted to surprise me and make me feel better -- and she knew that seeing Mira would help."
After all those years Mira went without a family of her own, Hopper had wanted, so much, for this dog to be in a home where she'd feel safe and loved. A home where she belonged.
Last week, Hopper got to see for herself: yes, that's exactly what Mira has now.
Hopper cried from joy when she saw the dog. Mira expressed her happiness, too.
In the yard, she "just ran around and she kept looking back at me like 'Look! This is my backyard! This is my pool! This is my grass!' She was so happy, and she looked like she'd lived there forever," Hopper said.
Seeing Mira that happy with her family, did more than show Hopper that Mira had found her home, it was also reassuring to Hopper, making her feel that she'd get through her own hard times, too.
"Gave me hope that one day I will feel better," she said. "Mira, or any shelter pet, can give you hope again."
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