By The Den's Mike Rice
Life isn’t always a bed of roses.
Medical emergencies, a loss of a job and other circumstances, often beyond our control, can wreak havoc on our day to day lives.
The already unbearable stress can become even more crippling when faced with the realization that the new hand life has dealt you leaves no room for a dearly loved pet.
Fortunately, there are organizations that can care for those beloved pets until finding them a new home.
One such organization is Lilly Bear’s Rescue.
Located in Warren, Indiana Lilly Bear’s Rescue has placed over 700 pets into foster homes or forever homes since its inception in 2008.
While most of those placements have involved abandoned, owner surrendered or found dogs, Lilly Bear’s Rescue has also handled the rehoming of cats, rabbits, snakes and an occasional potbellied pig.
Animals that are taken in by Lilly Bear’s normally stay in the organization’s care for anywhere from a week to nine months. Any lost animals that make their way to the rescue are required to spend a minimum of three days there before being rehomed, to give their owners ample time to locate them.
Lilly Bear’s Rescue extends the waiting period, however, housing the lost pets for no shorter than 7 days
Each animal has its own unique needs, temperament and personality and isn’t placed until the ideal match is found.
Using a diverse network of foster homes helps Lily Bear’s find that match.
The rescue has available foster homes with families that include children and/cats or other pets and some that do not.
The foster homes include younger families, as well as older individuals, some with large yards, some with smaller lawns, etc.
Having a variety of foster homes at their disposal lets Lilly Bear’s see how an animal may react to varied situations.
In fact, Lilly Bear’s founder and operator, Jenelle Conley, estimates she has a “98 percent” success rate in matching animals with homes.
Conley, through her years working as a Veterinary Technician, has become adept at identifying the difference in types of aggression shown by dogs, which are the most prominent resident of Lilly Bear’s Rescue.
That ability undoubtedly aids in rescue’s success rate.
While dogs which show dangerous “anger aggression” are not accepted by the Lilly Bear’s, Conley can often locate groups that specialize in dealing with and correcting such an issue in hopes of finding homes for them.
Not all aggression stems from anger, though.
Conley detailed to us a situation where she was called to assist with a Siberian Husky who appeared to nave been “dumped” in a rural area of Huntington County.
Ruger, as he’s now named, had been lying a ditch for approximately 8 hours, resisting and growling at rescue attempts.
Conley suspected the aggression the dog was showing stemmed from the fear and trauma of the events leading up to his taking up temporary residence in the ditch.
One trip to McDonalds and a couple of hamburgers later, Conley was able to coax Rouger from the ditch and welcome him into the Lilly Bear family.
However, in the rare 2 percent case a foster or intended forever home doesn’t work out, Lilly Bear’s Rescue will allow the animal to be returned and work to find another home.
While Lilly Bear’s has many similarities to other rescues, two things standout and sets it apart.
In its near 11-year existence, Lilly Bear’s Rescue has been forced to euthanize only a few animals. It’s a process Conley says they use only when absolutely no other options are available, such as an animal sustaining fatal injuries while abandoned or stray.
As well, Lilly Bear’s Rescue doesn’t house its animals in a special facility or building. Jenelle takes care of boarding all of them until a foster home, and later a permanent, home can be found.
Jenelle works with her employer Riverside Veterinary Clinic to neuter or spray, microchip, deworm and deflea all the animals, provide dental care, which is often needed by older animals and even remove any tumors which are presented during examinations for the 60 to 100 animals she takes in each year.
Through the assistance of the clinic, Jenelle has been able to keep the cost of adopting a pet through Lilly Bear’s to just 150 dollars.
There are times, though when an animal has medical needs that go beyond the resources of Lilly Bear’s and the clinic.
Jenelle told us the story of Lilly Anne, a young Cocker Spaniel suffering from an intrahepatic liver shunt https://www.petcoach.co/article/liver-shunts-portosystemic-shunts/
Lilly came to Jenelle via the Deardorff Vet Clinic in Akron, Indiana when her owner, faced with mounting medical costs of a serious, but still not fully diagnosed condition had to chose being putting Lilly down or surrendering her to the rescue.
While the cause of Lilly’s medical and neurological problems were eventually traced to her liver shunt, she now faces treatment, including surgery, expected to cost “around $8,000”.
To help offset those costs, Jenell arranged for two local fundraisers. Something Jenelle tries not to do too often, as she knows “there are so may organizations and so many animals and so many who need fundraisers”.
On January 31st, The Brick House Grille donated 10 percent of its profits, as well as all tips, toward Lilly’s care.
On February 24st, Lilly Bear’s Rescue will host a chili cook off, bake sale and silent auction, with proceeds going to Lilly’s care, as well.
The cookoff will be held from 4 to 7 PM at the Knight Bergman Center, 132 North Nancy Street in Warren.
Admission for the cook off is 10 dollars for each adult, 5 dollars for children age 5 to 10. Children under the age of 5 are free.
Lilly Bear’s is always looking for those interested in fostering or adopting, but needs grow in the spring, when there tends to be an increase of dogs in need.
Conley attributes the seasonal increase to the breeding season and the weather becoming warmer, causing dogs to “want to run”, leading them to become lost or stray.
It’s also the time of year when former Christmas puppies, purchased on a whim or other wise not well thought out, become forgotten and wind up in need of new homes.
If you are interested in fostering or adopting a pet through Lilly Bear’s Rescue, the process is straight forward and simple.
Lilly Bear’s Rescue will meet with you to discuss things such as how many and what types of pets you already have, if any dogs you have are spayed or neutered and up to date on vaccinations and other pertinent info.
If you foster an animal you’ll become responsible for taking care of its basic needs, such as food, socialization with people and other animals and the learning of commands.
Lilly Bear’s Rescue will continue to handle vet care.
While not required, Conley does like to stay in touch with the families who provide forever homes to Lilly Bear’s rescued animals.
Those updates motivate Jenelle to keep going through the times when, it seems as soon as she finds a home for one animal, she gets “email after email after email” about five more in need and wonders if she’s truly making a difference.
Something as simple as a Christmas card or a few emailed pictures can make the process easier for Jenelle, who, understandably, becomes emotionally attached to her rescues, especially those who spend substantial time with her.
If you find yourself in the unenviable situation of having to give up a pet or have found an animal, please contact the rescue through email at email@example.com or their Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/Lilly-Bears-Rescue-354782204534473/
You can find more info on the fundraisers for Lilly Anne’s medical care on their Facebook site, as well as pictures of animal in need of foster and/or forever homes.