Lily the dog started life like many animals in South Africa and all over the world--on the streets. She survived by wandering into villages and schoolyards to fetch scraps from the trash. While for her it was all about survival, most locals found it to be a nuisance. One afternoon while Lily was foraging near a local schoolyard in Cape Town, the headmaster spotted her and instructed two janitors to rid the school of this problem by burying her alive. However, through miraculous action, Lily survived and her story served as an eye opener for South Africa and the world about the much needed animal welfare programs.
While things seemed hopeless for Lily as the janitors dug her grave, some anonymous hero took action and informed the dedicated individuals at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) about her burial. Their rescue team dashed into action and 30-minutes later found Lily already in a five foot pit. Her body was covered with dirt, leaving her barely able to breathe, though luckily the janitors had left her head just barely uncovered. When she was dug out, her rescuers gave this previously nameless and unloved dog the name 'Lily, the Warrior Dog', in honor of her fighting spirit.
The volunteers at IFAW made sure that Lily's story spread far and wide around the nation to shed light on how much animal welfare programs were needed there. After the story took off, the headmaster and janitors were issued animal abuse fines as well as hefty criminal sentences and a humane education program was started at the school that may have served as Lily's grave.
It has been just over two years since Lily's ordeal and though she has received many offers for adoption, she remains with IFAW volunteers as a mascot of sorts. Through her rehabilitation, she has now becomes a healthy, happy and intelligent member of their team. Her legacy continues to live on through IFAW members abroad who sent scraps of fabric with encouraging messages to the dog. They were then sewn into padded quilts used to line the beds of rescue animals as well as a large commemorative blanket that hangs in the animal welfare clinic in Cape Town.