A 4-year-old dog named Lilo has reunited with her owner this week after a Tennessee animal center shared a post about the German shepherd-Great Pyrenees mix on Facebook.
In a Tuesday post, the staff at McKamey Animal Center of Chattanooga wrote “a note to Lilo’s mom” that began in part, “Lilo arrived at MAC a few days ago after a Good Samaritan found her wandering with her leash still attached, likely near where you left her. We are so sorry that you had to make the decision to leave her behind.”
The nonprofit animal center also included a couple of photos with the post, including one of Lilo, who didn’t have a microchip or identification tag, and another of a handwritten note that had been reportedly attached to Lilo’s collar.
“Please keep my name. My name is Lilo. Please love me. My mom can’t keep me and is homeless with 2 kids,” the note began. “She tried her best but can’t get help. I cost too much for her. She really loves me & I’m a great dog & love to be loved on. Please don’t abuse me.”
Lauren Mann, the director of advancement at McKamey Animal Center, told “Good Morning America” that the McKamey staff was especially moved by the anonymous message.
“It really hit us all, especially that last line of ‘Please don’t abuse me,'” Mann said. “So we decided that we were going to take to social media and hopefully through the power of Facebook and everyone that’s out there, we would hope that we could find her.”
Within 24 hours, Mann said Lilo and her owner were sharing a big hug.
“We got a phone call from someone that was claiming to be her mom,” Mann explained. “I called them back and asked them questions and right away, it was very clear that it definitely was her just based off some of the things that were shared with me. And so we had her come in to just verify identity and we let them see each other of course, and that’s when that next photo got taken and shared.”
Mann said she was unable to identify the owner publicly out of regard for the owner and their family’s protection but said it was apparent Lilo was a beloved family pet.
“The initial ask was just, if you were her mom, to come forward, that we wanted to reunite Lilo with her family. It’s very clear just by looking at Lilo that she was very well loved and cared for,” Mann said. “The times are tough and people just need kindness more than anything right now. And so we were just hoping that she would come forward.”
Now that Lilo and her owner have reunited, Mann said McKamey is working to assist the family with the goal of keeping Lilo with her family permanently.
“We are working with some different partnering agencies in town and different nonprofits now, to try and get them set up into a pet-friendly shelter and get them back on their feet and just overcome the homelessness that they’re experiencing,” Mann said.
Since Lilo and her family’s reunion, McKamey has also announced a new MAC Cares Fund that was established in Lilo’s honor and which aims to help prevent family pets from being separated from their families.
For anyone experiencing homelessness with a pet, Mann said she wants them to know that help is available at local animal shelters.
“Homelessness can really happen to anyone and there’s a lot of stigma and assumptions that come with cases like these, but you really never know who you’re going to encounter and what they’re dealing with,” Mann said.
“If you’re a pet owner that is experiencing hardship and needs assistance with your pet, reach out to your local animal shelter and see what they can do and what they can offer to help you,” Mann added. “We’re not the only shelter in town or even in the country that offers pet food pantries and assistance with programs.”