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Lilly Goes Home!

Apr 18, 2016 (updated on Apr 19, 2016)

PEORIA — Lilly had been in distress for days, but that didn’t keep her from greeting the staff at Peoria County Animal Protection Services with a friendly tail wag.

The year-old pit bull terrier was brought into the Peoria animal shelter March 7 by a concerned citizen. A dead puppy was wedged in her birth canal, and shelter employees were to learn a few hours later that she had three dead puppies in her uterus.

“Dr. Taylor said that the puppies had been dead anywhere from three to five days,” said PCAPS director Bridget Domenighini. “He said that her body was so toxic from dead, rotting puppies inside her for so long, and from eating trash, that she’d be lucky to survive.”

PCAPS takes in every animal brought to them, and sometimes staff has to make the difficult decision to euthanize. Lilly was in bad enough shape that it was considered.

“It’s never an easy decision,” said Domenighini. “We look at the dog’s temperament and the dog’s ability to live a good life after being treated.”

Lilly made the decision easy.

“She was just the sweetest dog, calm very shy,” said Domenighini. “Through all of that — you could tell she was in pain — but she never once growled or tried to bite. She is just an incredibly good-natured dog, which is amazing considering all she has been through.”

Lilly was taken to Big Hollow Companion Animal Hospital where Dr. Kevin Taylor performed emergency surgery.

“He removed the three dead puppies and spayed her,” said Domenighini. “But after she woke up she wasn’t doing well. She was vomiting corn cobs and trash, and passing a lot of blood both in her stool and from her vaginal area.”

It was touch-and-go for awhile, then Lilly began to stabilize. After about 48 hours she was taken back to PCAPS where she was given her own room.

“It’s called the “Real Life Room,” said Domenighini. “It has a couch and a big chair. It’s where we take dogs to see how they would do in a real home. It’s quieter in there, out of the kennel environment. We put her there so she could relax and have time to heal.”

At first Lilly was very lethargic. She didn’t even raise her head for visitors, though she did wag her tail.

“We were really worried about her. About a day after she came back she started eating little bits of canned food, then she started showing more energy and stopped passing blood.”

On Tuesday a greatly improved Lilly was assessed for adoption. She passed all the tests with flying colors, and her photos and bio were posted on the PCAPS Facebook page. The post immediately generated lots of interest. By Thursday morning Lilly had three accepted offers, one of them from West Peoria resident Austin Wiseman.

“My best friend’s wife sent me the post on Facebook and I opened it right away ‘cause I thought it was a picture of my dog Honey,” said Wiseman Thursday afternoon. Honey is a pit bull terrier Wiseman adopted from PCAPS last year.

“When I adopted Honey they told me she had had two litters of puppies, so I thought Lilly was maybe one of Honey’s puppies.”

Wiseman read the post around 7 a.m. Wednesday. He jumped in his car and was waiting at PCAPS when the doors opened at 8.

“I had to make sure I was the first one,” he said. Since pet viewing hours don’t start until noon, Wiseman had to come back. When he and Lilly finally met, the bond was instantaneous.

“She crawled up on my lap and put her nose in the pocket of my jacket,” said Wiseman. Later in the day he brought Honey to meet Lilly — the pair hit it off right away.

“They were wanting to play for sure,” said Wiseman.

Friday morning Wiseman took Lilly home. A brand new kennel and other supplies were ready for her arrival.

“I bought her a bed, like five toys, and a bunch of treats,” Wiseman said with a laugh. “I want her to know she is loved, and that not all people are the same, ‘cause that story is horrible. It just breaks my heart.”

Leslie Renken can be reached at 686-3250 or Follow her on Twitter, @LeslieRenken, and subscribe to her on

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