There isn’t enough time in the day to show your appreciation for canines. They are some of the most precious animals on earth and don’t deserve any type of ill-treatment. Even if they don’t have the best behavior, all it takes a little training to get them on track. In 2014, neighbors discovered a dog who was chained up and not receiving the proper care all animals deserve. The situation was so bad that vultures even began to close in on the poor pup waiting for her to die.
The Creatures In The Sky
It was a normal day on Philips Avenue in Greensboro, North Carolina. Although the weather was gloomy, the neighborhood was its usual, quiet self. As clouds covered the sky, residents noticed the first signs of the leaves beginning to change. But something was slightly off.
A flock of vultures was looming in the air above a resident’s backyard. But no one knew yet that the birds in the sky were a troubling sign. What exactly were they hovering over and why?
A Helpless Predicament
Out of curiosity, one neighbor decided to check out what the fuss was about and what he saw was appalling. The vultures had landed in a neighbor’s backyard and were surrounding a puppy. The poor dog wasn’t even moving.
It was hard to tell if the puppy was alive because she was so still, but she did have a distinct look on her face. As the neighbor checked out the surroundings, he saw that the dog was chained to a tree with nothing but a plastic dog house for shelter.
The Neighbors Concern For The Dog Grew
The neighbors were instantly concerned for the dog’s safety. The figured out that the dog was a small Pit Bull named Lilo. Due to the poor condition Lilo was in, the neighbors were unsure how well the owners were treating her.
It looked like she had been chained up for the majority of her young life. Lilo was only eight months old and had close to zero human contact. Lilo had also never been inside a house. The neighbors knew they needed to get Lilo help, and fast.
Calling The Shelter
The pesky vultures had already been surrounding poor Lilo for a week. By the looks on Lilo’s face, she had given up on life and was waiting for the pain to be over. All she knew was life tied to a tree and a small, plastic dog house to try to shelter herself from the cold winter.
Finally, the neighbors made the call to ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). They weren’t sure if the call had been made soon enough to help save the little girl, but they kept their hopes up.
Reason For The Call
The neighbor who called the ASPCA explained what was going on. They told the employee that Lilo was tied to a tree in the middle of the winter with vultures surrounding her. She looked like she was on the verge of death and the vulture could clearly sense that Lilo wouldn’t be around for much longer.
Because she was at the end of her rope, the vultures were readily prepared to do what they do best. Feast on the dead. No animal should have that become their fate.
Animal Control Couldn’t Believe Their Eyes
When animal control finally arrived to the backyard, they couldn’t believe what they were seeing. A huge flock of vultures were completely surrounding Lilo while two were perched on top top of her plastic dog house, her only form of protection!
A reporter immediately snapped this million-dollar-photo that would serve to help little Lilo.
What Brought Vultures To The Backyard?
The neighbors and ASPCA were shocked when they saw that Lilo was surrounded by vultures — especially because she was still alive. Vultures feed on dead animals and will kill the wounded and sick to speed up the process. The can sense when animals are about to die which helps in their quest.
They are also scientific phenomenoms. Their corrosive stomach acid allows them to digest numerous lethal bacteria like botulinum toxins, anthrax bacteria, and hog cholera bacteria. They vomit when danger arises and depending on their last meal, the results can be deadly.
No Dog Left Behind
With no strength to scare away the vultures, Lilo had pretty much pronounced herself dead. The eight-month-old Pit Bull felt she had nothing to live for and this showed in her actions. No one was there to take care of her either, but that would soon change.
Animal control came and scared away the looming vultures. Lilo was extremely malnourished thanks to being neglected for an extended period of time. The officers took the Pit Bull away so they could start Lilo on her long journey back to health.
The ASPCA Left Lilo’s Owners a Note
The note that the animal shelter officers left behind was merely informing the owners that Lilo was being taken away and why. They also let them know which shelter Lilo would be brought to so they could come and pick her up at a later time.
One head-scratcher still remained. Where in the world were the owners at during all of this? The owners made it seem like they didn’t care about the puppy at all.
Lilo Started Her Recovery at a Shelter
Guilford County safely took Lilo to a shelter that would love and nurture her back to health. Getting her away from those vultures was the best part of this, but after a few days at the shelter, something astounding happened.
The officers who brought in Lilo couldn’t believe it. The owners of Lilo had called in to say they were going pick up their dog. They also mad a promise to take better care of her and give her more attention. Could they be trusted at this point?
The Clock Ticks On
Time was passing by and the days turned into weeks. Lilo’s owners still hadn’t come by to pick up the dog. If Lilo could speak, she would tell you that them not coming was probably for the best. She deserved to be treated better than that.
It is true that Lilo was receiving better care, and her situation had improved, but a shelter is no place for a puppy. She needed a loving home and owners that could give her the care she deserved.
The Shelter Had Issues With Pit Bulls
Unfortunately, there was an issue with Lilo being at the shelter. The specific shelter Lilo was taken to didn’t adopt out Pit Bulls as a breed. And this was the case for many other shelters as well.
Two weeks had passed and the time was winding down on how long she could stay there. The shelter also had to determine what they were going to do with the pup since they didn’t adopt out Lilo’s breed.
Pit Bulls Are Often Seen In a Bad Light
There is a common misconception that every Pit Bull is aggressive, but this isn’t true. The sad reality is that many Pit Bulls are abused and are used for fighting or as “guard dogs,” so they’re trained to be violent.
Because Pit Bulls are high energy pups, they need to get lots of exercise to release their pent-up energy. Much of the time, the negative connotation that is associated with them is unfair and isn’t a reality. People just aren’t adequately educated on the breed.
Lilo’s Fate Grew Bleaker By The Day
Believing that all Pit Bulls are bad isn’t fair to the Pits Bulls that aren’t aggressive. In fact, if they are brought up properly, like most dogs, they can be the sweetest pups on Earth. Sadly, that fact wasn’t going to rescue Lilo, who had found herself in another bad situation.
Strays are left in shelters for a period of time to give the owners a chance to come and pick them up. If they aren’t retrieved, however, they have a chance of being euthanized. Lilo had nowhere to go, and her owners didn’t seem like they were coming.
TheMerit Pit Bull Foundation Stepped In To Save Lilo
Thankfully, there are organizations whose aim is to save at-risk breeds like Lilo from being killed in shelters. This is precisely what happened for baby Lilo. It wasn’t her choice to be a Pit Bull after all.
The organization was called Merit Pit Bull Foundation. They came to the shelter and took Lilo hoping to find a new home for the puppy. If not for this organization, Lilo’s fate would have picked up right where the vultures originally wanted to go. A new chapter was on the horizon for Lilo…
Lilo Went to Live At a Caring Foster Home
The Merit Pit Bull Foundation proved to be a huge help. Lilo was able to find a foster home until a real home was located for her. The picture of Lilo surrounded by those creepy vultures sparked the couple of Keana Lynch and Travis Henly to take her in.
Finally, Lilo wasn’t in danger anymore, and loving people were going to be taking care of her. She was in a caring home at last.
Lilo Became An Official Member Of The Family
The happy couple had fallen head over hills for little Lilo and for a good reason. Who wouldn’t love this precious little girl? They made a joint decision to not only foster her but to make her an official member of the family.
The process wasn’t natural at first. “She had no clue what to do in the house. She was not house-trained, and she didn’t really know what to do with toys,” foster mom Keana said. “She was a timid dog.”
One Big Happy Family
It wasn’t long before Lilo became an integral part of the family. Not only did she get two new human comrades, she also was gifted two doggos to play around with! A Pit Bull-Terrier mix and a Maltese.
All three of the pups were female, and they bonded reasonably quick. This new situation gave Lilo new friends to play with whenever she needed and wanted. Lilo was finally on the track to being healthy and happy again. There was an unexpected reason for that.
After being with Travis and Kaena for some time, Lilo had transformed into a healthy and chipper dog that she always deserved to be. She put on a healthy amount of weight and her skin infections cleared up.
The couple started training Lilo. This process takes a lot of time and patience. This was also a risky task without knowing the past trauma Lilo had been through. Something simple could have easily triggered her to act.
Keeping A Smile On Her Face
In only a years time, Lilo went from potential vulture food to a dog that was always happy with a loving family. It’s really astounding the 180-degree-change that occurred in Lilo’s life. What more could she ask for?
Looking at her face will give you the impression that she is always smiling. She also responded to the training better than predicted.
Lilo Is a Happy, Healthy Dog
Travis and Kaena are over the moon with how well Lilo has done. Keana says “she has such a great personality — she’s always happy, always giving kisses.” Both parents call Lilo a “cuddle monster” who continually wants human interaction.
That’s a significant turnaround from her first eight months of living. But although she is doing better, her past traumas still materialize in particular moments and can make it seem like her progress is stunted. It can be heartbreaking at times…
Lilo’s Past Trauma Still Rears Its Head at Times
Kaena outlined Lilo’s situation, saying: “She still has issues from her past, I cannot leave her in the backyard by herself, she comes to the door and cries. She really just wants to be with you. She loves and appreciates what you do for her. She’s a sweet baby.”
Even in the midst of her problems, Lilo stays positive through it all. Things could have gone south, and Lilo could have turned into a savage Pit Bull. Her kind heart shined through, thankfully.
Hush Little Baby
Despite Lilo’s past trauma, her owners say she is still super sweet to everyone she meets. “She has never held a grudge for her past and loves everyone she meets. She prefers to be held like a baby and snuggled with any chance she can get. Over the past year Lilo has become a healthy vibrant girl with all kinds of funny behaviors,” Kaena said.
You would think to have a past like she’s had, it would affect her more. Thankfully, that isn’t the case. She keeps busy with all her training and playing toys. Interestingly enough, she is also a help to others.
Lilo Even Helps Other Dogs Now
Little Lilo has upgraded from chained up to an ambassador for Pit Bulls everywhere. Lilo and her mother travel from school to school teaching children about how good Pit Bulls really are.
Their focus points are teaching that all it takes is a responsible trainer and patience. The kids at the schools also get to interact with Lilo first hand and see how loving she is. This helps with the overall message. Her story just gets better and better!
Today, Lilo Is a Therapy Dog
Lilo’s great behavior earned her another task. Since she is so well behaved, she also is trained to be a therapy dog, just like her sister. Therapy dog’s primary missions are to give comfort, love, and affection to people in many different settings.
Don’t get therapy dogs confused with service dogs, however. A therapy dog doesn’t provide physical assistance; instead it’s only emotional assistance. Lilo also is a Read Education Assistance Dog, encouraging young children to read.
That One Photo…
While the photo of Lilo surrounded by vultures is devastating, her owners are glad someone took it. “She’s definitely part of the family,” Kaena said. “I’m thankful that the News & Record photographer took that photo. He changed her life.” Kaena believes that photo of Lilo with all the vultures is what really drew her to adopt her.
If not for that picture, she may not have even heard of Lilo and had the opportunity to adopt such a great pup. Thanks to the local newspaper, the image was seen by many.
The Pit Bull Foundation
The Merit Pit Bull Foundation was founded in 2012 by a small group of volunteers. If not for these brave volunteers, Lilo might have very well been killed at the shelter. She and a bunch of other Pit Bulls in the area could have met the same fate.
The mission of the foundation is to “improve the lives of bully-type dogs and the people who love them.” The foundation also promotes proper education about Pit Bulls to the masses along with a slew of other services like training.
The Pit Bull Foundation Also Encourages People To Adopt, Not Shop
The same foundation also advocates for potential adopters to adopt from shelters or rescue homes instead of buying them from the pet store. This is because thousands of pets are put to sleep every year in America alone because they can’t find them a home.
Dogs from pet stores most likely come from puppy farms. These farms breed dogs for profit and are typically bad places with low standards of living for all the animals there.
Raiding The Farm
To further prove these puppy farms are no good, here’s a fun fact. Back in 2014, a farm in Tennesse was raided, and 100 dogs were rescued from horrible conditions.
“The dogs were suffering from untreated, painful eye infections, respiratory conditions, dental issues, severe matting that limited their mobility and vision, and urine-soaked, feces-caked fur,” one rescue spokesman said. Even arrests have been made during raids like this. The ASPCA works tirelessly to remove these dogs from a life of neglect, and help them eventually find a safe, loving home.
Adopt, Don’t Shop
A legal case once defined puppy farms as “a dog breeding operation in which the health of the dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits.” Does that sound like something you want to support?
Currently, at least 21 states have zero legal laws in place regulating puppy farms. They are essentially safe havens for animal cruelty to take place. If Lilo’s story touched you in any way, remember to adopt.