To see Lilly, a French bulldog, today, you would never imagine the deplorable conditions that she once lived in, before a raid on a puppy mill in Rutherford, NC. Lilly’s existence was solely to continue to have puppies for a breeder, never receiving regular visits to a veterinarian, leading to a severely infected eye, rotten in its socket, which had to be removed along with a tumor in her mouth, leading to the loss of teeth. When the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) raided and shut down the puppy mill, Kimberly Alboum, the NC State Director at the time, saw Lilly and knew she needed very special care and love, and so she called Lori Shore-Smith, a local animal-rights activist. That’s when Lilly’s life became one that all dogs should have, giving Lori the “little girl” she’s always wanted.
All Dogs Deserve to Be Loved
Lori had already decided that she would adopt Lilly before even meeting her. “The moment I saw her, she completely stole my heart, and it was as though we were meant for each other. At first, Lilly was extremely scared by sudden movements, storms, loud noises, and was not housetrained. The first time she saw me use a broom on the patio, she screamed and ran to hide; it broke my heart. I gently picked her up and sat with her on the floor for a long time holding her and telling her that no one would ever hurt her again,” recalled Lori. Lilly joined her four-legged brothers, Rocco and Sebastian, Lori’s son, Tucker, and husband, Mike, in a home that all dogs should be fortunate enough to have.
A Star Is Born
The HSUS contacted Lori about visiting her home because they wanted to do a short film on Lilly’s story and her life after the puppy mill. The film led to Lilly being honored as the HSUS HERO DOG representing the USA, and to the trip of a lifetime for both Lori and Lilly.
“We were flown first-class to New York City on November 13th, 2015, for the Humane Society of the United States’ ‘To The Rescue! New York Gala.’ The event was held at the Cipriani and honored the HSUS Animal Rescue Team and Lilly (Hero Dog USA) and Boomer, Hero Dog International, who was rescued from the Asian Dog Meat Market, where dogs are tortured to become meat for human consumption. Lilly and I walked the red carpet out front and inside were two 8′ tall, lighted displays, one of Lilly and one of Boomer, with a large-screen TV showing both of their rescues. Then we had a wonderful vegan meal prepared by Candle 79 and listened to guest speakers, including Wayne Pachelle, President and CEO of HSUS and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Actors Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead) and Theo Rossi (Sons of Anarchy) presented a video story of Lilly and another of Boomer. Lilly and I met Debra Messing of Will & Grace and The Mysteries of Laura, actors Angelica Houston and James Cromwell,” Lori said. There are thousands of animals just like Lilly suffering every day and the HSUS and many others continue on their mission of protecting animals to change that.
Making a Difference One Animal at a Time
Established in 1954, The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest and most powerful animal protection organization, working hard to reduce the suffering of animals and to create change by advocating for sensible public policies, investigating cruelty and educating the public on issues, including puppy mills and dog fighting, to make the world a more humane one. “People do not realize that puppy mill complaints come in to HSUS on a regular basis and our state has had more raids and busts in the past five years than any other state. There are no state laws to regulate the estimated 250 commercial breeders in North Carolina. Dogs like Lilly are suffering horribly, and I encourage everyone to ask our legislature to pass a puppy mill bill to help provide at least basic care of dogs being used to mass-produce puppies,” Lori commented.
If you decide that a new four-legged family member would be a blessing, please visit your local rescues and shelters, choosing adoption over buying a puppy. Lori and Lilly say, “Adopt, don’t shop!”