According to the ASPCA, approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year in the United States. We clearly have a problem controlling the population of stray animals here in the states, but internationally, it’s even more of a problem.
For instance, in Thailand, it is estimated that there are over 120,000 dogs roaming the streets of Bangkok alone. That is only one city. Can you imagine how many canines are roaming “just” that country, doing anything they can to merely survive?
The abundance of strays isn’t the only problem plaguing pooches across the globe. An even bigger dilemma is the way some of these homeless dogs are callously treated by the humans that encounter them.
Some of these acts against dogs are so heinous it makes you wonder where the humanity is within this type of human behavior. There was even an incident in Italy in which a stray had its legs bound with wire and was thrown out on the side of the road in a sealed garbage bag like he was a piece of trash.
Yet, the common thread amongst these sad stories is the strength that the animal shows in the face of adversity, and Lily, a dog that was horribly abused in Cape Town, South Africa, has a story so inspiring it will fill your heart with joy…
Meet Lily. She was born in South Africa and left to fend for herself.
She often sniffed around the streets and schoolyards of a neighborhood in Cape Town called Makhaphela, combing for scraps and trash just to stay alive.
Although she was docile and kept to herself, some locals looked down on her and considered her rummaging annoying.
One of these people was Manono Makhaphela, the school principal of Luhlaza Secondary School Khayelitsha. He found Lily to be a “nuisance” and ordered two janitors to “get rid” of the stray dog by burying her alive.
Fortunately, the school’s kitchen cleaner witnessed the incident and immediately called International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha. When they arrived, Lily was buried in a five-foot deep pit.
She had been under the ground for just over 20 minutes.
Her rescuers gave her the name Lily, their term of endearment for “Warrior.”
Lily had a very long road to recovery, but her story swept the nation, shedding light on the fact that more animal welfare programs were needed in South Africa.
She also received an outpouring of support. IFAW sent swatches of fabric to donors around the world inviting them to write messages to Lily on them. The hope was that they would receive enough swatches back to make Lily a warm winter blanket.
They received enough for a blanket for Lily and then some. “What was truly overwhelming was the depth of emotion people shared in their words of love and support. They felt compelled to act – in the end we received more than 3,000 signed swatches back from our supporters,” said Ronelle Petersen, Supporter Relations Representative for IFAW Southern Africa.
Not long after her story hit the news, an animal rights journalist adopted Lily.
Lily is now thriving and is sincerely enjoying life.
As for her abusers, they were fined harsh penalties and told they had to start an animal education program at the school in which Lily was buried to help educate future generations.
Hopefully with further education and the spreading of this story, others will be inspired to adopt rescues and more dogs will get the lives they truly deserve.
Lily is a true inspiration with the true soul of a warrior.
To learn more about IFAW and all the wonderful things they do, check out their site here.
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