Stray Dog Who Was Buried Alive Because She Was A Nuisance Becomes An Inspiration

This disabled stray dog’s story could have ended tragically, but instead her life took a dramatic turn!

Meet Lily. She was one of many stray dogs living in South Africa. Even though she was partially paralyzed, she would scavenge the streets and schoolyards in Cape Town looking for food.

One day, her barking and scrounging at Luhlaza Secondary School Khayelitsha annoyed the principal. Principal Manono Makhaphela thought Lily’s barking was a “nuisance” and directed two of the school’s janitors to “get rid” of her by burying her alive!

The school’s kitchen staff watched in horror as Lily cried out for help. A school kitchen cleaner called International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Mdzananda Animal Clinic in a panic.

When rescue workers arrived, Lily was buried in a five-foot deep pit. She literally had minutes to spare, as she had been buried for just over 20 minutes.


Photo credit: IFAW / Mdzananda Animal Clinic

They managed to pull her out and she was rushed to the clinic. They named her Warrior and later she was renamed Lily.

Her rescuers realized that her partial paralysis had been caused by a fractured spine earlier in her life.

She underwent hydrotherapy, acupuncture and other treatments to help her restore some mobility to her legs and treat her incontinence.

She gradually gained more weight and more muscle. She also received an outpouring of support. IFAW sent swatches of fabric to donors around the world inviting them to write messages to Lily on them.


Photo credit: IFAW

The hope was that they would receive enough swatches back to make Lily a warm winter blanket. They got 3000!

When Lily’s story got out to the public there was a tremendous outpouring of support from animal lovers around the globe.


Photo credit: SPCA South Africa

Lily’s future grew brighter and she found a forever home with freelance journalist and Mdzananda Animal Clinic board member Helen Walne.

Lily’s story brought renewed awareness in South Africa that more had to be done to protect animals in the country.

However, the justice for Lily that IFAW’s Mdzananda Animal Clinic was hoping for has not yet been fully realized. It’s been nearly 4 years since Lily was rescued from her would-be grave but the principal responsible for nearly killing her has not yet complied with his punishment.

Although the two janitors were charged and sentenced with animal cruelty, the principal refused to introduce an an animal protection awareness program at his school to help children learn about animal welfare.

Frustrated that no punishment had been served, the clinic reported him and he was arrested and jailed. He now has until 18 July 2015 to start a humane education program if he wants his record to be removed.

Years later, Lily continues to inspire animal welfare advocates. And her transformation has educated many people, including her abusers. One of the janitors regretted his actions so deeply he now volunteers at the clinic!

“The story of Lily’s survival is a tribute to her spirit, and to the wonderful staff of our dog and cat clinic in Cape Town. Today Lily is intelligent and obedient, playful and inquisitive – everything a happy dog should be. Her story is inspiring,” Lisa Cant-Haylett, IFAW Co-coordinator for Companion Animal Projects in South Africa said.

It’s miraculous to see how Lily is now. She can walk and run and play like any dog! Despite her terrible ordeal, she is now a healthy, happy dog and a much-loved member of her family!

Share Lily’s amazing story with your family and friends.

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