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Not everyone understands that a lot like children, dogs naturally make noise. Sometimes they bark to communicate with other dogs, sometimes they bark for protection. For Lily, her barks likely had to do with hunger pains from living on the streets for so long. She was partially paralyzed too. Life hadn’t been kind to Lily, not one bit.
Lily hung around a school in Cape Town, knowing children would be happy to give her attention. Maybe some scraps of food from their lunch too. But her continuous presence and barking got under the principal’s skin. Instead of doing the humane thing, like calling for help from a rescue group or giving her something to eat, the principal ordered two janitors to ‘get rid’ of the dog by any means necessary.
The janitors did the unthinkable. They buried her in a five-foot deep hole. Alive.
Lily was still able to cry, under all the dirt and debris, and thankfully the school’s kitchen staff couldn’t allow the dog to suffer. They called the Mdzananda Animal Clinic for help. They were quick to come and dig Lily out. It was amazing she didn’t suffocate!
The International Fund For Animal Welfare (IFAW), who funds the Mdzananda Animal Clinic, got involved with Lily’s case and worked with the animal clinic to assure Lily got the help she needed AND justice was served.
The rescuers took Lily to the clinic. They realized Lily had been partially paralyzed from a spinal injury as a puppy. She would have many challenges ahead of her. She needed hydrotherapy to gain muscle and coordination. She also received acupuncture and physical therapy.
Of course, she also needed to gain a great deal of weight. The IFAW and Mdzananda Animal Clinic posted Lily’s story on their Facebook page, asking followers to send Lily messages of hope written on swatches of fabric.
They wanted to put the messages together to sew Lily an inspirational quilt to keep her warm and let her know she is safe and she is loved.
Lily was finally adopted by a wonderful woman and freelance journalist, Helen Walne, who serves on the board of the Mdzananda Animal Clinic.
Lily’s story, although devastating, brought awareness about animal cruelty to South Africa. The two janitors were charged with animal cruelty. The principal was another story. He was harder to prosecute and the town tried to work with him. They gave him the option, instead of serving jail time, to introduce a program to the school to educate children about animal cruelty. He refused to comply. Eventually, he was charged and jailed.
This story has inspired the entire community to come together and fight for stricter laws for dogs like Lily. Lily continues to live a happy life filled with love.
Watch the video below to learn more about Lily and her fight to survive!