A 4-year-old dog arrived at an animal shelter in Tennessee with a heartbreaking message that the dog could no longer be taken care of by her homeless owner.
Now, the dog is being reunited back her original family. Lilo, a German shepherd-Great Pyrenees mix, was brought into the McKamey Animal Center in Chattanooga, Tenn., last week after someone found her walking around a neighborhood with a leash on.
My name is Lilo. Please love me
When Lilo arrived at the center, there was a note attached to her collar from her last owner, saying that she could no longer afford to care for the dog.
“My name is Lilo. Please love me,” the note read. “My mom can’t keep me and is homeless with 2 kids. She tried her best but can’t get help. I cost too much for her.
“She really loves me and I’m a great dog and loved to be loved on. Please don’t abuse me,” it said.
The note also asks not to change Lilo’s name.
Lauren Mann, director of the advancement at the McKamey Animal Center, said it was “gut-wrenching” when staff saw the note.
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“There was a bunch of us that honestly started crying,” Mann told. “Something about the note really stood out to all of us. It was clear that this person didn’t want to let go of their dog, so it hit home for all of us.”
Animal center staff wanted to try and find Lilo’s owner, so they shared her story in a Facebook post and wished “the power of social media” would help.
Within the next 24 hours, Lilo’s original owner had been found. Mann said her owner had heard about the Facebook post from a friend and had no idea she ended up at the center. Finally, the owner was able to see Lilo again.
While Lilo can soon be reunited with her family, animal officials noted that people shouldn’t abandon their pets.
In honor of Lilo, McKamey sent up a fund dedicated “to preventing as many families as possible from being separated from their beloved pets.”
Mann said places like McKamey have pet food pantries and other services to lower the cost of caring for a pet, as when people are struggling financially, their first option is to get rid of their pet.
The center said, “While we understand what and why Lilo’s mom did what she did, we wish that she had come to us first for resources and help.”
In a Jan. 26 update, the center said it was blown away by the amount of support Lilo and the family received, and the note left on Lilo played a crucial part in reuniting her.
“I think Lilo was really lucky that she had a note attached to her collar,” Mann said. “We don’t know the story of every dog that comes into our building, but I could easily say that she’s not the only one that came from a situation just like that.”