Payden Trujillo was driving down the street in the middle of a freezing cold night in January. She suddenly saw a black figure dart out in front of her car. Luckily, she slammed on the breaks just in time.
She got out of her car to see what the dark figure was. She was heartbroken to see that it was a dog, shivering in the freezing cold. Payden lured the dog into her car so she could take it to her parent’s house to figure out what to do with it.
When the two got there, Payden realized what bad shape the dog was in. Her legs were frostbitten and she was malnourished. Though the dog was scared and sick, she seemed to trust Payden and her father.
They looked at the dog’s tags and found a heartbreaking message. One of the tags said, “My name is Lilly, if you found me pls keep me...my fam cant and I need love.”
Payden and her family were devastated. Lilly’s previous owners had just abandoned her. There were plenty of shelters in the area that Lilly could have been taken to if they were unable to care for her. Instead of taking her to a shelter, though, they just left her in the freezing cold to fend for herself.
Payden’s sister Mercedes decided to take on the task of caring for Lilly. When they first started caring for her, Lilly’s system was unable to process any food or water because she had been so malnourished and in the cold for so long. After several weeks (and trips to the vet), Lilly finally started to get healthier.
Though she was physically doing much better, Lilly still struggled with a fear of being abandoned. Anytime she was left alone, she would destroy things.
“I was staying with family friends who finally said they couldn’t have her stay there anymore,” Mercedes shared. “Her separation anxiety was really bad at first, so we just kind of kept friend-hopping for a place to stay.”
Eventually, Mercedes moved into dorms at her university. Administrators there made an exception to their rules about pets to allow Mercedes to keep Lilly on campus.
Lilly’s separation anxiety got better and better, but she struggled to be around men. Mercedes shared, “Her former owner may have been a man, because, before, we couldn’t even pass by a guy without her lunging at him. Since I’m a mechanical engineer, I was surrounded by guys in my classes, so she sat with them and got to know them on her terms.”
It’s now been two years since Mercedes took on Lilly. Lilly is healthy and loves people. One of her favorite things is to go on hikes with her best friend, a one-year-old rescued greyhound named Ayla.
It’s incredible that poor Lilly found such a good new mom. Now, she’s healthy and happy. In other news, this 3-year-old went missing from her home in Arizona. Luckily, she was found the next morning with the family dog curled up next to her. Read the story here.