After Seeing Vultures Circling a Puppy In Their Neighbor’s Backyard, They Immediately Helped

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

CHINA-RELIGION-BELIEF-FUNERAL
PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images
PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

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

Hooded vultures waiting in a tree to get to the scraps of a
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

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

Chinese Cities Intensify Dog Control
China Photos/Getty Images
China Photos/Getty Images

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

ITALY-ANIMAL-ZOO
MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images
MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images

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?

Ravishing Raptors Revel in a Scenic Refuge
Francis Apesteguy/Getty Images
Francis Apesteguy/Getty Images

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

Shelter Dog Stories
Contributor/Getty Images
Contributor/Getty Images

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

DC Animal Shelter
Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images
Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images

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.

Training Day

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.

Puppy Gets A Second Chance At Life At A Chimp Sanctuary After Being Found In Poor Health

This Puppy Was In Poor Health
@jjdesmond/Twitter
@jjdesmond/Twitter

All over the world, there are animals that are abandoned and left to fend for themselves. Such was the case for a small puppy found in a remote village in Liberia. This little guy was sitting by the side of the road, where it looked as if he was left to die.

None of the villagers seemed to care for the desperate pup, yet they seemed to take issue with it when one woman wanted to pick him up.

Jenny Desmond Noticed The Puppy Needed Help

Jenny Desmond Noticed The Puppy Needed Help
Donny Moss/YouTube
Donny Moss/YouTube

The woman in question was Jenny Desmond. She and her husband Jimmy are co-founders of the Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection (LCRP) facility in West Africa. While the Desmonds primarily work to rehabilitate wild and orphaned chimpanzees rescued from the illegal bushmeat and wildlife trades, no species is excluded from the love and care of the LCRP.

Jenny and her colleagues were driving through a remote Liberian village when she noticed this puppy lying by the road.

Who Knows How Long He Was Suffering In These Conditions?

suffering
Donny Moss/YouTube
Donny Moss/YouTube

When they stopped to help her, Jenny instantly noticed that the puppy had worms and was sick with a fever but those were only two of the multiple ailments that this little puppy was suffering from. In addition to being severely underweight, the puppy also had eye and skin infections.

Jenny wanted to bring him back to the facility to improve his health. But she couldn’t do so without getting an earful from the nearby villagers.

Jenny Had To Argue With The Villagers

Jenny Had To Argue With The Villagers
Donny Moss/YouTube
Donny Moss/YouTube

Oddly enough, Jenny faced a bit of resistance from nearby villagers about saving this puppy. She didn’t want to pay them to take him, especially since she was certain no one was caring for him anyway. “You see he’s being eaten alive,” she told them, holding him out to show them his scabbed coat.

“You want me to leave him here and he’s gonna die?” she asked them. Rescuing the puppy wasn’t going to be as simple as Jenny thought.

She Vowed To Never Bring Him Back

She Vowed To Never Bring Him Back
Donny Moss/YouTube
Donny Moss/YouTube

“If the dog becomes better, do you want me to bring the dog back to you?” Jenny asks the villagers in a video. That seemed to be a good enough reason for them to allow Jenny to take the puppy.

“I’m not bringing him back. I’m just saying that,” Jenny can later be heard saying as they drive away. She knew for sure that the puppy would never have a good life in that village.

They Weren’t Sure He Was Going To Make It

They Weren't Sure He Was Going To Make It
Donny Moss/YouTube
Donny Moss/YouTube

It was a good thing that Jenny rescued the sick puppy when she did. She was certain that the puppy would have died in two days if she hadn’t have come to its rescue.

Upon further inspection, they found that the puppy was missing huge patches of fur and his skin was covered in dirt and sores. Jenny wanted to give the puppy a fighting chance at life even though it seemed like he wouldn’t make it.

The Puppy Received What Was Probably His First Bath

bath
Donny Moss/YouTube
Donny Moss/YouTube

When they got to the sanctuary, the first thing they did was give the puppy a much-needed bath. Jenny and one of her colleagues gently scrubbed out the dirt caked into the puppy’s fur as he sat helpless under the running water.

This was second nature to Jenny. “She’s rescued a lot. She rescued chickens, she rescued grasshoppers, owls… she’s rescued a lot of things,” explained Jenny’s colleague. Jenny has never turned a blind eye to an animal in need.

They Named Him Snafu

They Named Him Snafu
@jjdesmond/Twitter
@jjdesmond/Twitter

The Desmonds decided to name this little guy Snafu. When he first arrived at the Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection facility, Snafu was a timid and fragile puppy. It was clear that he didn’t have the strength to carry on.

But amazingly, Snafu would make a strong recovery in a matter of days and it would seem the rescue was paying off. But first, there were some important things they had to take care of.

Treatment Was The Next Step

Treatment Was The Next Step
Donny Moss/YouTube
Donny Moss/YouTube

Snafu got treatment right away so that he could start healing. Jimmy Desmond is a wildlife veterinarian and consultant who specializes in emerging disease and the illegal wildlife trade.

Jimmy administered a treatment underneath the puppy’s skin that would be absorbed by the body. It was likely that the puppy had some serious infections that would have led to a fatal disease had he not been saved when he was.

Snafu Was So Hungry He Was Digesting His Muscle

hungry

Snafu was so malnourished and starving that he had begun digesting his own muscles. Jenny and Jimmy made sure to give him plenty of food and water in order to nourish him back to health.

When given the food and water, Snafu would stand there inhaling it all for quite some time so it was clear that he had been deprived of these necessities while fending for himself in that village.

His Hair Started Growing Back In Five Days

His Hair Started Growing Back In Five Days
Donny Moss/YouTube
Donny Moss/YouTube

By the fifth day under the Desmond’s care, the puppy’s fur started to grow back. “He didn’t even look like he had fur or hair,” Jenny said in reference to when they first found him.

“There used to be big chunks of skin [falling out] and there’s not that much of it anymore.” The puppy was showing incredible signs of improvement in less than a week of being cared for.

Snafu’s Recovery Took A Turn

Snafu's Recovery Took A Turn
Donny Moss/YouTube
Donny Moss/YouTube

“Everyday we kind of felt like he was getting a little bit better but with most animals that we rescue, there’s a day when they kind of take a turn,” Jenny explained. Slowly but surely, that day would come for Snafu.

One thing’s for sure, Snafu’s spirit was definitely changed within days of being at the LCRP. The once-timid dog soon started to move around playfully after he got used to his new environment.

They Put On The “Cone Of Shame”

They Put On The Cone Of Shame
Donny Moss/YouTube
Donny Moss/YouTube

As Snafu became more playful, the Desmond’s had to be more careful about his treatment. When they first got him, Snafu had multiple open wounds that were oozing with puss. “It was starting to heal with the medicine but then he was biting it, so we put the collar on him,” Jenny said.

Part of Snafu’s treatment involved having to wear the cone of shame, though we’re sure Snafu wasn’t ashamed to be healing.

Snafu Got Along With The Rescued Chimps

Snafu Got Along With The Rescued Chimps
Donny Moss/YouTube
Donny Moss/YouTube

Even with the restrictive collar around his neck, Snafu still felt well enough to start interacting with everyone at the sanctuary — especially his new animal friends. Not only did he not mind sharing food with the older dogs on the property but he got along well with the chimpanzees too!

For their part, the chimps loved helping to care for Snafu by carrying him down the stairs when he was still small.

Snafu Essentially Grew Up With The Chimps

Snafu Essentially Grew Up With The Chimps
Donny Moss/YouTube
Donny Moss/YouTube

Under the Desmonds’ vigilant care, it wasn’t long before Snafu not only began healing but he also began growing as well. Within a year, Snafu had grown into a full-sized dog and was as happy as can be.

Not only that, he was happy to interact with the rescued chimpanzees having grown up on the sanctuary. Snafu actually got his second chance at life but that wasn’t the end of his story.

Snafu’s Future Was Up In The Air

Snafu's Future Was Up In The Air
@jjdesmond/Twitter
@jjdesmond/Twitter

Snafu looked like a completely different dog within a year of being rescued. It was all thanks to Jenny and Jimmy Desmond who had the resources and hearts full of love that Snafu was able to make a full recovery.

Life seemed pretty perfect at that point but suddenly, the Desmonds realized they couldn’t continue to care for Snafu. As new animals came in needing their help, space at the sanctuary was getting tight.

The Desmonds Wanted Snafu To Have A Life He Deserved

Desmonds
Donny Moss/YouTube
Donny Moss/YouTube

Lots of animals find their way to the LCRP but it’s not often that they have to say goodbye. Even though Jenny never discriminated against what animals she cared for, she realized that her’s and Jimmy’s busy schedule in rescuing chimpanzees was their priority.

Still, they wanted Snafu to have the life that he deserved. They needed to think of a solution so that he could continue to get the love they were giving him.

They Couldn’t Give Snafu The Attention He Deserved

They Couldn't Give Snafu The Attention He Deserved
@jjdesmond/Twitter
@jjdesmond/Twitter

Jenny and Jimmy fell in love with Snafu and were proud of his recovery but their work at the sanctuary had to come first. Running the LCRP involved a lot of travel, especially since they rescued chimpanzees from all over Africa.

They realized that all their travel prevented them from giving Snafu all the care and attention he deserved. Luckily, they thought of the perfect solution for Snafu’s situation.

Jenny’s Nieces Adopted Snafu

Jenny's Nieces Adopted Snafu
Donny Moss/YouTube
Donny Moss/YouTube

Jenny knew the perfect people to adopt Snafu and it was her sister’s family in Colorado. “He’s moving to Colorado to live with my nieces and he’s gonna have a great, wonderful life,” Jenny said.

“Look at him, he’s cute, happy, [and] fat.” It was certainly a huge improvement from when Jenny first found Snafu on the side of the road one day. She could only hope that Snafu would enjoy his new life.

Snafu Is Thriving In Colorado

thriving
Donny Moss/YouTube
Donny Moss/YouTube

Snafu loved his family at the Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection facility. She especially loved the new parents he had in Jenny and Jimmy, who hoped that Snafu would continue to be happy when he moved to Colorado.

Fortunately, that was precisely the case! Snafu loved being able to play with Jenny’s nieces and to have a new family that loved her just as much as the one back in Africa.