Meet sweet Hannah, a nearly 4-year-old Shepherd mix who spent the first six months of her life living in a backyard with her five siblings, all whom never experienced the warmth of a human’s touch. For this reason, Hannah, who arrived at the ROAR Shelter six months ago from a rescue in Mississippi can be considered a special needs dog.

“Special needs pet” is a broad term without a universal meaning. It can include animals with obvious physical distinctions, chronic medical conditions or social limitations including extreme situational fears.

Special needs pets are the most challenging for shelters to adopt out; these dogs and cats often wait four times longer than average to be adopted — a long time spent without a family, security, and unconditional love.

Special needs pets still have love and devotion to give. They ask for nothing in return except for a little extra TLC.

Hannah’s adopters will need patience and dog experience. And because dogs have a language of their own, Hannah would do best in a home with another confident dog to show her the world is not so scary and people are safe.

Hannah is up to date on vaccinations, micro-chipped and spayed. Her adoption fee is $350.

Call the ROAR/Donofrio Family Animal Shelter, 203-438-0158, to make an appointment to meet Hannah. Regardless of how Hannah became a special needs pet, she has much to teach us about resilience and love without judgement.

ROAR, located at 45 South Street in Ridgefield, is a private nonprofit, tax exempt organization founded by volunteers in 2000. To learn more go to www.roar-ridgefield.org.