When They Saw What Was Circling This Pit Bull Puppy, They Rushed To Help
Dogs are great companions for humans, but they deserve our love and attention. Just as they give us love and attention we should give them love and attention right back. Sadly, that wasn’t always the case for Lilo the Pit Bull puppy, who was unloved and chained to a tree in the backyard for the first eight months of her life. Then something even more horrific occurred causing a daring rescue attempt was made to save her. Dogs aren’t man’s best friend for nothing. Read on to learn about the incredible journey of one helpless dog from depression and neglect to a better life.
1. Mysterious Creatures
It was a gloomy day on Phillips Avenue in Greensboro, North Carolina and ominous shapes were lingering in the air. The neighborhood is highly forested, full of green trees that change colors as the seasons pass by. But those shapes in the sky were a sign of trouble.
A flock of vultures were circling high in the air, a sight that is rarely seen in the middle of the city. They were circling behind a nearby house. But just what were they circling over? And why?
One curious neighbor had to investigate the strange occurrence and what he found shocked him. The birds had already landed in a local neighbor’s backyard and were eerily hoarding around a small puppy. A helpless puppy that wasn’t moving.
If the puppy was alive it clearly wasn’t bothered by the birds, but the look on her face said something else was much worse than the appearance of the vultures. She was chained to a tree, with only a plastic dog house for cover in the winter.
The neighbors were concerned for the small dog, which turned out to be a small Pit Bull named Lilo. They didn’t even know if the owners were aware that they had a dog. It certainly seemed like they didn’t, based on her condition.
From the looks of it, she had been chained to that tree for most of her young life. Being only eight-months-old, the Pit Bull puppy had almost zero human contact and had never even been inside of a house.
4. The Call
The circling vultures had been surrounding Lilo for a full week now and by the looks of her, she had given up on life. Never knowing anything but being tied to a tree and having a small plastic dog house to sit in during the cold winter.
That’s when Lilo’s neighbor decided enough was enough and called the ASPCA, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. But the neighbor wasn’t sure if there was enough time left to still save Lilo’s life.
5. The Reason
The kind-hearted neighbor reported to animal control that there was a dog outside chained to a tree in the middle of winter, surrounded by vultures who might take her at any second. She knew why the vultures were there.
The vultures sensed that Lilo was on her last leg. At the end of her rope. They were waiting for the disheartened little dog to die and become their next meal. A fate that no one and nothing sure ever endure.
6. The Photo
Animal control finally arrived at the backyard where she was tied up, but they could hardly believe their eyes. An entire flock of vultures had surrounded the helpless pup and two were even on the top of her plastic dog house, the only shelter she had from the elements.
A reporter snapped a photo of the terrifying scene, a picture that is worth a million words and would come back to help little Lilo on her road to recovery and rehabilitation. But the danger wasn’t over yet.
7. The Vultures
Vultures are scavenging birds of prey and feed on the carcasses of dead animals or will kill wounded or sick animals. They have a sense of when an animal is about to die and circling vultures can frequently be seen in the air above a dying animal.
Scientifically, vultures are remarkable creatures that have exceptionally corrosive stomach acid, allowing them to digest a number of lethal bacteria such as botulinum toxin, hog cholera bacteria, and anthrax bacteria. They frequently vomit when danger is near, and depending on what they ate, the result can be deadly.
8. Left Behind
Without even the strength to scare the vultures away, the eight-month-old Pit Bull puppy had resolved herself to death. She had nothing to live for and no one to take care of her. But that all was about to change.
The animal control officers came to the scene and scared the vultures away from the helpless puppy. Lilo the Pit Bull was severely malnourish and obviously neglected so the animal control officers took her. But not before leaving something behind.
9. The Note
The animal control officers left behind a note at Lilo’s owner’s house letting them know that they had taken the dog and why. They also let them know which shelter Lilo was being taken to, so they could come pick her up.
One big question still remained. Where were the puppy’s owners? And why was Lilo in such had condition? It appeared as if they didn’t care about the traumatized little puppy at all. But was that really the case or was something else going on?
10. The Shelter
The Guilford County Animal Control took Lilo to a shelter where she would be safe and taken care of. After a few days though something amazing happened that astounded everyone. Especially the officers who had picked Lilo up.
The shelter got a call from Lilo’s owners, informing animal control that they would be by to pick up their dog. They also gave promises that they would give her more attention. But would that really be the case?
Days turned into a week and still Lilo’s owners hadn’t come to get her. If you could ask Lilo, though, she would most probably tell you that it would end up being for the best, she deserved better than her previous owners.
But even though her situation had improved and she was being taken better care of, a shelter is no place for a puppy. Lilo deserved a home, a loving home where she could run around and play to her heart’s content.
12. Pit Bull Problem
There was, however, one big issue with Lilo the Pit Bull puppy being at the shelter. The specific shelter that she was taken to, as well as many others, don’t actually adopt out Pit Bulls as a breed.
Lilo had been at the shelter two weeks already and the clock was ticking on how long she would be able to stay and what the shelter was going to do with her since they don’t adopt out Pit Bulls.
13. Negative Views
The reason that some people have negative views about Pit Bulls as a breed is that many people abuse them, use them for fighting or think that they make great guard dogs, so they train them to be violent.
Pit Bulls are very high energy dogs and need to get a lot of exercise to release their pent-up energy. But in many cases, the predisposed views of them as a violent dog breed is an unfair bias that isn’t based in reality.
14. Grim Fate
In fact, the opposite is true. If a Pit Bull is brought up properly in a loving home and trained they can be the sweetest of dogs imaginable. But that fact wasn’t about to help poor Lilo, who once again found herself in dire straits.
Stray animals are kept in shelters for a number of days to give the owners a chance to retrieve them, but dogs given up by their owners are liable to be euthanized at any time if they don’t quickly find a forever home. Lilo had nowhere to go, her owners weren’t coming back for her and due to the shelter’s “no-adoption” policy for Pit Bulls, her fate looked grim.
15. A Glimmer of Hope
There was, however, one other option. Special organizations exist to save specific breeds of dogs from being killed in shelters, especially high-risk dogs like Pit Bulls. And this is exactly who saved Lilo the Pit Bull puppy from death.
An organization called Merit Pit Bull Foundation came to the shelter and took little Lilo in hopes that they would be able to adopt her out. If it hadn’t been for this miraculous organization, Lilo wouldn’t have survived to experience the next heartwarming part of her journey.
16. Foster Pup
Through the Merit Pit Bull Foundation, Lilo found herself a foster home until a permanent home could be found for her. After seeing the picture of Lilo surrounded by vultures, couple Keana Lynch and Travis Henley couldn’t not take her in.
Finally, Lilo was out of imminent danger and brought into a loving home. Even if it was just temporary, Lilo was in a caring home and was being taken care of properly. Then something amazing happened.
17. A Member
Keana and Travis had fallen in love with Lilo at first sight. And who wouldn’t love this adorable puppy? They decided that they wouldn’t just foster Lilo, but instead, they would make her a permanent member of the family.
But it wasn’t all easy at first. Lilo was very nervous and shy. “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,” Keana said.
Lilo soon became a vital part of Keana and Travis’ family. But she didn’t only get two human friends in her adoptive family, she also got two canine companions – Gemma, a pit bull-terrier mix, and Gypsy, a Maltese.
All three dogs are female and they quickly bonded, giving Lilo friends to always play with, which we’re sure is every dog’s dream. Lilo was finally happy and getting back to being healthy. But there was another big, unexpected reason for that.
After being with Keana and Travis for a while, Lilo began to perk up and become the happy and healthy dog that she deserved to be. She was now at a healthy weight and her previous skin infections had cleared up.
Keana and Travis started training Lilo. A process that takes lots of patience and time. Without knowing what kind of trauma she had experienced in her life it was also slightly risky, not knowing if something could trigger a violent reaction.
20. Always Smiling
Within just a year, however, Lilo went from being a neglected puppy tied to a tree in a backyard surrounded by hungry vultures, to a happy go lucky pup with a loving family and two doggy friends. What more could she ask for?
If you look at her face it appears as if she is always smiling. She is also taking very well to the training and is very well behaved for having such a traumatic past. What her human mother has to say about her, though, will bring tears to your eyes.
21. Always Happy
According to Lilo’s mother, Kaena, “she has such a great personality — she’s always happy, always giving kisses.” Both Kaena and Travis describe Lilo as a “cuddlemonster,” always wanting human interaction and to be close to people.
That’s a stark difference from the first eight months of her life when she had literally zero human interaction. In fact, she was lucky if her previous owners remembered to give her food and water. Although her life has drastically improved, she still her past traumas still heartbreakingly materialize in certain circumstances.
22. Past Traumas
“She still has issues from her past,” Kaena said. “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.”
But despite her past, Lilo has a very positive outlook on life and loves living it. She could have easily turned into a savage Pit Bull that hated humans for what happened in her past. But she has a kind heart and just wants to be loved and you won’t believe what she likes best!
23. Like A Baby
“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,” Lilo’s mother Kaena says.
Lilo was rescued from the dreadful, vulture-fill backyard around Christmas time and her adoption became official on March 4th. Since being adopted, Lilo keeps busy with her training classes and playing with toys around the house and backyard. Amazingly, she’s now also helping others in need.
Ever since being rescued, Lilo has also become an ambassador for Pit Bulls all around the world. She and her mother travel to different schools to teach children that Pit Bulls are loving creatures and not the violent monsters people make them out to be.
They teach that all it takes is a responsible trainer and time and patience. Kids also get to play with Lilo and experience firsthand how loving and gentle Pit Bulls can be. Lilo is certainly an amazing dog, and her story just keeps getting better!
Since Lilo is such a good dog she is also being trained to be a therapy dog, just like her sister Gemma. Therapy dogs provide love, comfort and affection to people in a wide variety of different settings, like hospitals, retirement homes, schools and disaster areas.
Therapy dogs are different from service dogs as they don’t provide physical assistance to those in need, instead, they provide emotional assistance. Lilo also works as a Read Education Assistance Dog, dogs that encourage young children to read, promote literacy and vital communication skills. But her story doesn’t end there.
26. The Photo
“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 says that the picture of Lilo surrounded by vultures is what drew her to adopt her.
Otherwise, Kaena might have never heard of Lilo and had the chance to adopt such an amazing and talented dog, if it hadn’t have been for the photo of Lilo that showed up in the local newspaper. And all the elements that converged to save Lilo haven’t ended their quest there.
27. Merit Pit Bull Foundation
The Merit Pit Foundation that was responsible for rescuing Lilo the puppy Pit Bull from the shelter where she would have been euthanized was founded in 2012 by a small group of volunteers. The foundation’s mission is to “improve the lives of bully-type dogs and the people who love them.”
The foundation, along with Lilo, promotes education about Pit Bulls to the general public, helps rescue and provide placement of the dogs, as well as helping teach owners of bully-type dogs proper and responsible ownership. The foundation also opposes all breed-specific legislation, as exists in discrimination against stereotypically “bully-type” dogs. But that’s not all.
28. Puppy Farms
The Merit Foundation also advocates that potential pet owners adopt their pets from shelters or animal rescue organizations such as theirs rather than buying a pet at a pet store. Tens of thousands of pets are euthanized each year in the United States because shelters can’t find them homes and can’t hold all the animals.
Dogs that are bought in pet shops generally come from puppy farms, farms that breed dogs for a profit and are generally terrible places with low standards of living for the animals. Many of them are overcrowded, force pregnancies at too early an age and too many times a year. If that didn’t make you want to adopt a puppy, the next account certaintly will.
29. Puppy Raids
In 2014, a puppy farm in Tennessee was raided and 100 dogs were saved from severely neglectful conditions. According to the rescue spokesman, “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.”
Numerous arrest have been made during such raids and the perpetrators charged with animal cruelty. It is the ASPCA’s “goal is to remove these dogs from a life of neglect, help them become healthy and eventually find them safe and loving homes.” But there’s a way you can also help!
30. Adopt, Don’t Buy
One legal case defined a puppy farm as “a dog breeding operation in which the health of the dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits.” There are also very few laws regulating the breeding of animals in the United States.
There are currently at least 21 states that carry zero legal regulations for puppy farms, basically, these states serve as safe havens for cruel and inhumane practices. So if you were touched by Lilo’s story and you’re looking for a pet, remember to adopt! Don’t buy.
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