A few weeks ago, I told you Lillie’s horrific story.

A few weeks ago, I told you Lillie’s horrific story. I’m told quite often that my readers have a hard time finishing it because I make them cry (I could go into a long litany about the mental and physiological benefits of shedding tears). I am hoping a progress report on Miss Lillie will make you smile or shed a joyful tear.

When Lillie was rescued from her three-foot chain and I lifted her totally emaciated body into my Jeep, I wondered to myself if we were too late. Many times when a dog is so severely deprived for as long as Lillie was, complications arise, organs begin to deteriorate or shut down to a point that they can’t be brought back. Sometimes the body is not capable of digesting good nutrition when it is introduced. Thankfully, I can say that was not the case with Lillie. 

Doctors say that a person’s chances of survival in any crisis health situation are greatly increased by a positive attitude and a good support system. Our Lillie had both. Her tail was still wagging the day we rescued her. Lillie mustered her strength to wrap her paws around me as if she were hugging me. She still wanted to live and to love the very beings who had caused her such unspeakable suffering. Since Oct. 11, Lillie has been in the loving care of two wonderful people who have devoted themselves to her recovery. Lillie gained 11 pounds in two weeks! She was carefully fed small portions several times a day and gratefully inhaled every morsel. Her foster mom wrote after her last veterinary visit: “Lillie has gained 11 pounds and is now just on the low side of normal. We are to cut down to just two feedings a day.

“Dr. Wooden said she was now healthy enough for vaccinations. Attached are the records for her visit on Friday. He said that if it weren’t for the ugly marks on her back, he’d never have recognized her. She is still doing wonderful! She really loves to play fetch now. We play at least once every day, sometimes more if she wants to.”
Rich and I stopped by the foster home one day to say “hello” and found that Lillie’s foster “Dad” had taken a bad fall and torn up his shoulder to the point of requiring surgery. Needless to say, he and Lillie were spending a great deal of bonding time while he recuperated at home. He said that there are two recliners in their bedroom where he was spending most of his time watching quite a bit of television. Lillie took up residence right beside him in the other recliner. He said it was sweet to look over and see her resting there beside him, as they both recovered from painful ordeals (I couldn’t help but be struck by the timing of all this). As we visited, he stroked Lillie’s head and talked about the wonderful dog she is. Kiddingly, he said that she’d only been a bad girl once! One afternoon he noticed she was missing from the bedroom. He heard suspicious crunching coming from the kitchen. Investigating, he saw that Lillie had quietly, carefully lifted the handle of the dog food container bucket from the kitchen counter, set it on the floor, removed the lid and was partaking of a little afternoon snack, all without spilling a morsel.

Lillie is now feeling so good that she is playing with toys and interacting happily with her foster family and anyone else who comes by.

Tonight as I write, I just tucked in three of Lillie’s puppies. The other three were adopted at our last adoption day. Zeb, Nell and Silvie are still waiting for their forever homes. They have that same sweet, gentle, forgiving, affectionate, resilient, trusting, loving temperament that their mama has.

Some critics ask, “Why are you doing this? There are just too many. They’ll never stop coming. The problem is too big. You can’t solve it this way. You will never really make a difference or change things.” We have made all the difference in Lillie’s life. The world changes, one life at a time. I dare you to look in her eyes and disagree.

Leanne Williams is president of Faithful Friends Animal Advocates.