Seven days ago Lilo woke and emerged from her hiding spot on the side of the road. The air was thick and sticky promising another scorcher. The heat index was nearly 100 degrees yesterday and she felt every one of them. Her stomach churned with emptiness and angst.
It was a Friday but not that it mattered. She had lost track of the days since she was left on the side of this road. She was still trying to figure out what happened. Every day she tried to find something familiar, anything that might lead her home. Cars and trucks went thundering past on the hot asphalt. She tried to cross, home must be that way; it wasn’t here. Each time her heart beat wildly in her chest and she tried to brave the crossing. Each time she fled back as the big vehicles shot by all around her.
Sometimes people came, they called to her and ran after her. They seemed like scary monsters through the thick veil of fear that blanketed her thoughts. After they left she would sometimes find morsels of food and a bowl of water. For that she was grateful.
Today was the day. She must cross that road. She sat on the shoulder watching the whirring of vehicles flooding past. She tried to find an opening. She tried to find some brave in her small soul. And then it happened. It was thunder and noise and pain and the world went spinning. The impact threw her into the air, she somersaulted and landed sitting directly in the lane of traffic. There was no thought left in her, just a blinding hurt and legs that would not move. She could not even be afraid, all that she was in that moment was searing pain. Someone stopped. Someone picked her up and placed in her a car. She was barely aware it was happening. In that moment she surrendered herself to the agony, gave in and gave up.
What happened next was a flurry of activity whirling around her. A little black box was put in her face and a shutter snapped. She was posted on FB in dire need. The phone rang and although she didn’t know it; that is the moment she was truly and finally in Safe Hands.
Her care was entrusted to the good Dr. Greene. X-rays were taken and through the magic of the airwaves made their way to an orthopedic surgeon. Yes, we can fix Lilo. Get her here. We will see her Monday. The schedule is full but we will make room for this little girl because she matters. Yes, Lilo matters.
Indeed Lilo mattered to strangers near and far as they learned of this little cast off. A post went out on Pilots N Paws. We had just one day. Could we find pilots to rally and bring her across the country where specialists were waiting to mend her broken body? The first to answer the call was pilot Dave. He could take the last of three legs. He didn’t stop there. In a flurry of texts and messages, emails and phone calls, a plan took shape. Dave found a pilot to take the first leg. Pilot Mark heard about Lilo and without hesitation said yes. We were missing just one person. There was a gap from Indianapolis to Iowa. And when things were looking down…the phone rang. “This is Mike, I am a pilot and I can fill the missing leg.”
Lilo is here now. She is in Minneapolis, in Safe Hands. She had surgery to plate her broken legs. She has stolen hearts near, with us and the hospital staff, and far – the pilots, shelter and clinic staff that helped her along the way. She stole the hearts of those who made donations to provide for her medical care too. To all of us, Lilo matters.
Lilo is a small ray of sunshine. She is so happy for any kindness shown to her. Her tail wags madly if you look her way. She gives big kisses. She is incredibly sweet and more than a little precocious. She loves her orthopedic bed but what she really wants is to be held or at least rest her head on your lap.
Lilo is so grateful to be safe. This thought brings me to tears; one week ago today, she was not. One week ago today she was a little girl all alone in the world. Today she has a small army on her side. What a difference seven days can make.
Lilo has a long road to healing and wholeness ahead of her. She’ll get there, we will all make sure of that.
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