Heartbreaking note attached to abandoned dog leads to touching reunion with owner
A heartbreaking note helped reunite a dog with its owner after she was forced to abandon the pet while facing homelessness.
The McKamey Animal Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, first learned about Lilo after receiving a call from a neighbour who saw the dog running with a leash attached, the shelter’s director of advancement Lauren Mann told CBS News.
Staff picked up Lilo, only to find a gut-wrenching note attached to her collar: “Please love me. My mom can’t keep me and is homeless with two 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.”
For Ms Mann, it was “one of the saddest things” she has ever read. Staff at the centre were also moved by Lilo’s story and while they regretted that her mom had not directly reached out to them, they understood the very hard circumstances she was grappling with.
“The last line [that] really hit us all here is: ‘Please don’t abuse me.’ When you looked at Lilo, you could tell right away that she was very well cared for and definitely loved. That was definitely the truth,” Ms Mann told CBS.
After deciding to honour the woman’s wish and keep Lilo’s name, employees recorded and shared a now-viral TikTok hoping that the dog’s mom would see it. Their priority was to take care of Lilo, but they also wanted to give resources to the woman and help her and her family keep their precious companion.
“We want you to know she is safe, and we will take the very best care of her,” a staff member said in the clip. “... But if you are reading this, we hope you will come forward to reclaim her. We will help you with whatever you need to care for her, to the best of our ability.”
Just days after sharing the video, the woman got in touch with the shelter and was finally able to embrace Lilo during a reunion that sent everyone to tears.
“It was very clear when Lilo entered the room that that was her family,” Ms Mann told the outlet. “Everyone was extremely happy, there was not a dry eye in the room. The kids were also just as excited, and emotional as everyone else.”
The shelter said that while not a lot of details can be shared, they are actively working with the family to set them up with a safe haven, shelter, and resources to stay together.
“We are thankful for everyone who has advocated for the family, and shared our post,” the shelter wrote in a statement. “We are amazed at the outpouring of support. It truly takes a community, and you all have certainly shown us how powerful ours is - thank you so much.”
The shelter encouraged everyone touched by Lilo’s story to donate to their local shelter, and if possible, give a forever home to a pet in their community.