Cinnamon was found in an empty apartment, tied to a radiator so tightly her leash had to be cut by rescuers. Her owners had been evicted and left her behind. She had just given birth to a litter of puppies who were nowhere to be found.
For the first few days she spent at the Yonkers Animal Shelter in New York. Cinnamon was traumatized; she stayed curled into a tiny ball in her kennel, afraid to move.
At three years old, Cinnamon had clearly been used for breeding and likely never experienced human kindness until she arrived at the shelter.
The first weeks were painful; Cinnamon rarely untucked her tail from behind her legs, but volunteer Nancy Clarke could see something special in this Mama Dog, a dog who’d been “thrown away like garbage.”
Over time, Nancy learned that the little red-nosed dog didn’t seem to know or understand how to play with toys, but she was eager to give kisses. To roll over and show her belly, still swollen from nursing. In spite of her fear, Cinnamon sees only the good in people. “She wants to forgive,” explains Nancy.
Cinnamon has been at the shelter for two years, making her one of the longest residents.
Nancy doesn’t know why someone hasn’t come to take Cinnamon home—she wonders every single day—but she’s seen the kind of joy Cinnamon could bring to a family.
Cinnamon has a vinyl bed inside her kennel, but she loves the big plushy bed in the play room. When Nancy takes her there.
Cinnamon spins around in circles and plops down immediately; then she looks at her friend with a huge smile stretching from ear to ear.
When asked about her favorite memory with Cinnamon, Nancy pauses for a long time before saying simply, “Every day.”
This Mama Dog is overflowing with love and gratitude. When she’s outside, she runs and rolls. But she always comes right back to her volunteer friends to make sure they’re alright. To give them kisses, to say, “Thank you.”
Unfortunately, Cinnamon is struggling with the anxiety of having lived in a shelter for so long. Day by day, Nancy sees her eyes growing more bloodshot; she’s losing weight.
She seems more desperate than ever to get out of her cage. It’s like she’s saying “Get me out of here,” explains Nancy.
The shelter might be the safest, most loving place Cinnamon has ever been, but a shelter is no place for a dog to spend her life.
By abandoning her, Cinnamon’s former owner said, “We don’t need you anymore,” but there’s someone out there who needs Cinnamon just as desperately as she needs them.
Who sees in this smiling red Mama Dog so much more than a “throwaway mama.” In Nancy’s words, “She’s pure love.”