Tilly is a small dog whose life may be pretty and pampered now, but it wasn’t always that amazing. In fact, the first years of her life were a constant nightmare. While it’s impossible to know the full extent of what Tilly suffered, what we do know, is depressing enough to imagine any dog going through, let alone one as sweet and trusting as Tilly.
When Tilly was found by a kind-hearted hiker, she was terrified and alone, wandering through the deep, dark woods. The hiker couldn’t catch her, and Tilly refused to let him touch her. When a volunteer with Farmington Pet Adoption Center in Missouri heard about the plight of the petrified pup, the woman knew that she couldn’t leave Tilly to fend for herself. The volunteer and her mother set off to the woods where Tilly had last been seen.
From the moment they laid eyes on the frightened dog, they knew she would be coming home with them. At barely five pounds, Tilly was starving to death, and most of her fur was missing, leaving her even more exposed to the elements. Tilly refused to be caught easily and fought the rescuers with everything she had. After hours of trying to capture Tilly, they finally managed to corner her down by the river. When they slipped the lead over her, snaring her, she was so terrified that she lashed out and bit her savior as hard as she could.
When Tilly bit her, and it wasn’t too hard of a bite, they realized that most of her teeth were rotting. As soon as they got her back to the van, they offered her food, and she quickly came out of her shell. Her hunger overcame her fear, and she scarfed down the wet food faster than any dog they’d ever seen. By that time, it was too late to take her to the vet’s office that evening, so they brought her home. Tilly slept, curled up next to her rescuer all night, never taking her eyes off the person who had saved her when she’d needed it the most.
In the morning, they took Tilly to the vet, and they began to piece together this dog’s sad life. Tilly was a senior, around ten to twelve years old, had borne many, many litters of puppies, had skin problems, and most of her teeth needed to be removed. They theorized that she was a Puppy Mill breeding dog until she got too old and sick, and they left her to die in the woods. When they began to examine her, they noticed two hard lumps in her abdomen, and everyone feared the worst. It wasn’t cancer, though, as everyone had thought. Instead, this starving senior was pregnant with two puppies!
When Tilly’s bloodwork came back clear, there was nothing they could do for her until she gave birth to the puppies - and she was very close to giving birth! Four days after her rescue, Tilly delivered two puppies - Tessa and Teddy. Sadly, Tessa survived only a few hours. While Tilly mourned the loss of her daughter, she was an doting mother to Teddy and took amazing care of him. When Teddy was 11 weeks old, they adopted him out to some personal friends of theirs.
After Tilly weaned Teddy, they were finally able to get her the medical care she’d desperately needed. They performed a spay surgery on her, and removed all of the rotting teeth, leaving her with only ten remaining teeth. Of course, the woman who had rescued her from the woods all those months ago was never letting Tilly out of her sight again, and adopted her. Now, all of Tilly’s fur has grown back, and she’s become completely healthy. She’s befriended the family’s other three dogs, and her life has definitely made a complete turnaround from where it was before!