Diana Ross the dog finds her endless love

Diana Ross the dog, very happy outside with a person sitting next to her
Ain’t no mountain high enough to keep a once-stray dog from getting to a new home, thanks to a dedicated foster caregiver.
By Karen Asp

Diana Ross is the voice behind the song “I’m Still Waiting,” but Diana Ross the dog is singing a different tune these days. She was picked up as a stray and ended up at a Los Angeles shelter before arriving at the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Los Angeles.

Best Friends’ goal is for shelters across the country to reach no-kill in 2025, and collaborating with our shelter partners to take in and place their pets in new homes is just one of the ways we work together toward that shared goal.

To learn more about the pup’s personality, the staff decided to place her in a foster home. So off to Best Friends foster volunteer Xenia Lok’s home Diana went.

When a dog meets her foster caregiver

Because she was a stray, Diana Ross came with no information about her history, likes, dislikes, and other details that would help match her with an adoptive home. But Best Friends staff immediately noted that she was calm and a quick learner, and Xenia saw the same when she first met Diana.

Several things about Diana appealed to Xenia. Not only did she have a calm energy, but she was also focused. “That focus helps when you’re training a dog,” Xenia says.

Diana walked well on a leash, too, another important factor for Xenia. “I like to exercise my foster dogs, but because I don’t have a yard, most of the exercise is walks around my neighborhood,” she says. And Diana was comfortable around other dogs — a plus for Xenia, who lives in an apartment building where there are several canine residents.

Learning about Diana Ross

Xenia started fostering pets over two years ago. She and her boyfriend, Mike, had recently lost their 14-year-old rescued dog Kayla, and although they weren’t ready to adopt again, she wanted to make a difference for dogs. “Kayla gave us so much love and happiness that we wanted to pay that back by helping other dogs,” she says, adding that fostering aided them in the grieving process. “Having a connection with another dog helped.”

The other thing that appealed to Xenia about fostering is that she could do it for as little or as long as she wanted. To fit it into her lifestyle, she decided she could offer each dog a two-week period. “That length of time seemed long enough for a dog to get settled, relaxed, and happy,” she says. Two weeks would also give her ample time to take notes and photographs so that potential adopters could learn more about the dog.

[Foster home is simply the best for mama dog and pups]

As soon as she brought her home, Xenia noted Diana’s cuddly side with Mike. “At 60 pounds, she would melt in his arms,” Xenia says.

To learn more about them, Xenia likes to give her foster pets different enjoyable experiences, whether that’s going to the beach or introducing them to a new food. Xenia took Diana on daily walks, noting that she remained calm and kept her attention on Xenia. She even took Diana to restaurants with dog-friendly patios — another positive experience. Xenia also learned that Diana was incredibly interested in what was on TV. In fact, while they were watching a tiger documentary, Diana went toward the TV as if trying to locate the tiger in real life.

Suffice to say that Diana Ross wound her way into Xenia’s heart. “She was so incredible that she became my favorite foster pet,” she says.

Second time’s a charm

When the two-week period ended, Xenia took Diana back to the pet adoption center. Everyone hoped that her next home would be with an adopter. It turned out that somebody had already been thinking about her.

Dusty Verlaine had met Diana before she went into foster care. She had stopped by the pet adoption center with co-workers to look at dogs and was drawn to Diana. “She was the only dog calmly sitting, and she was so cute,” she says. She wanted to take her home then, but she wasn’t quite ready to adopt.

[Dog goes from shy to social butterfly in foster win]

Dusty couldn’t stop thinking about Diana and would periodically call the center to see whether she was still there. One day, she decided to go see her but learned that Diana had just been adopted that day. “I was bummed but I figured it wasn’t meant to be, and I hoped she would have a good life with her new family,” she says, adding that she did ask Best Friends staff to call her if anything changed.

A week later, Dusty received a call. The family who adopted Diana realized she wasn’t the right match for them. Would Dusty like to adopt her? She didn’t hesitate — in part thanks to Diana’s time with Xenia. “Her foster notes helped shed some light on her demeanor, which helped me in my decision to adopt her,” Dusty says.

Since then, Diana (who now goes by Dee) continues to be her calm, loving self. “She’s receptive and responsive to all types of people, and when she meets a random stranger on the street, she’s excited,” Dusty says.

Oh and Diana’s new tune? It might sound something like “Your Love Is So Good for Me.”

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill by 2025

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. 

Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

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