A Tennessee animal shelter says it has successfully reunited a homeless woman with her dog after the woman was forced to abandon the animal because she could no longer afford to take care of it.
The McKamey Animal Center posted on Facebook Wednesday about an “incredible update” when a dog named Lilo was reunited with an owner who had previously abandoned the pet along with a heartfelt note apologizing for no longer being able to take care of the animal due to financial hardship and homelessness.
“While we can’t share a lot of the details with you yet, we are actively working with the family to set them up with a safe haven, shelter, and resources to stay together and tackle homelessness,” the post said, along with a photo of a woman hugging Lilo.
The update follows a previous Facebook post when the animal center said that Lilo was found by a good Samaritan walking around with her leash still attached.
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“We are so sorry that you had to make the decision to leave her behind,” the shelter said to the unknown owner in the Facebook post. “We know many folks are struggling to care for their pets right now. We know how hard it must be to give up an animal you so clearly loved because you can’t provide the care she needs. We understand.”
The Facebook post included a note that had been left by the owner explaining why she could no longer take care of her pet dog.
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“My name is Lilo,” the note said. “Please love me. My mom can’t keep me and is homeless with two kids. She tried her best but she can’t get help. I cost too much for her. She really loves me and I’m a great dog and love to be loved on. Please don’t abuse me.”
In the Facebook post, the Chattanooga shelter assured the owner that Lilo is safe and that they will “take the very best care of her.”
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“But if you are reading this, we hope you will come forward to reclaim her,” the post said. “We will help you with whatever you need to care for her, to the best of our ability.”
“Lilo definitely misses you, and we would like nothing more than to see her go back to the family she loves. Either way, please know that we understand, we will not judge, and we are here to help in any way we can.”
In a statement to Fox News Digital, a shelter representative said that it’s important for the public to avoid stigmatizing the homeless population.
“I just want people to know and understand that homelessness comes with lots of stigma and assumptions – it can happen to anyone,” McKamey Animal Center Director of Advancement Lauren D. Mann said.
“Folks should be kind to everyone they meet and if they are struggling with caring for their pet(s), to reach out to their local animal shelter. Shelters across the country have resources, pantries, etc. and are happy to help people.”