Birthday party for dog at humane shelter a chance for her to ‘give back’ in a way

Lilly Anne, a rescued Cocker spaniel, will have a party on Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Huntington County Humane Shelter from noon to 2 p.m. to celebrate not only her first birthday, but also her recovery from having a serious illness that required thousands of dollars in treatment.
Lilly Anne, a rescued Cocker spaniel, will have a party on Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Huntington County Humane Shelter from noon to 2 p.m. to celebrate not only her first birthday, but also her recovery from having a serious illness that required thousands of dollars in treatment. Photo provided.

When little Lilly Anne turns 1, she’ll get a big birthday party bash, not just to celebrate her first year, but to celebrate her recovery from a serious illness. Everyone is invited.

Lilly Anne, a rescued Cocker spaniel, has been the unfortunate definition of a sick puppy, after her first owners surrendered her to the rescue at only 4 months old, when they brought her to a veterinarian for her puppy shots.

“They noticed she was getting sick and she had problems,” explains Jenelle Conley, who works at Riverside Veterinarian Clinic and also heads up Lilly Bear’s Rescue in Warren. “He told them it could be a couple of different things, but they were both very serious, expensive problems. The people didn’t have money to take care of her.”

Lilly Anne soon became the ward of Lilly Bear’s, and was diagnosed with having an intrahepatic liver shunt. Conley says the shunt, located inside her liver, prevents blood from going through the liver, which normally removes toxins from the blood.

“Because of this liver shunt, the blood never went through her liver, so it’s going through the body and all the toxins and everything are building up and making her sick,” Conley says.

She held a chili cook-off, sold items in auctions and got the word out that Lilly Anne needed major surgery, which could be performed at Purdue University. But it was not cheap. Amazingly, though, Conley was able to raise the funds to cover the procedure and medications for Lilly Anne, spending around $8,000.

In the meantime, Conley developed a soft spot in her heart for her young charge, as she was battling the odds for survival.

“It’s been hard really, but I have to laugh,” she recounts. “The first time I took her down there and had to leave her there, at Purdue, they ask you a question, that if anything happens under anesthetic, do you want them to do CPR? I instantly just started crying! It really wasn’t my dog, but of course I wanted them to do CPR – I didn’t want them to let her die.”

The cuddly Cocker spaniel wound up going to Purdue three times; she is now much better and doing well, thanks to medications which manage her condition and help to remove extra toxins in her blood.

A birthday celebration is planned for Saturday, Aug. 24, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Huntington County Humane Shelter, 390 Thurman Poe Way, in Huntington. It’s not just a birthday party, but also a chance for Lilly Anne to “give back,” as it were, some birthday presents to help other animals that need shelter, care and forever homes.

“You know, you go to a birthday party and you usually bring somebody a birthday present, so we’re asking for donations to the shelter,” Conley says. “Lilly can’t talk, of course, but she just wants to give back to all the other animals who are still at the shelter and looking for homes.”

Requested items include dog food, kitten and cat food, cat litter, treats, hard toys, bleach, trash bags and other cleaning supplies.

The party is open to the public – and to other dogs, as well, but their owners must bring a record of their current rabies, Bordetella and DHLPP vaccinations. Canines need to be both dog and people friendly, Conley adds.

There will be cake and snacks for humans and doggy cake and ice cream for the canines, as well as games for kids to play. Portraits by Mechelle will also be on hand to take photos of pets for a monetary donation to the shelter.

The Susan B. Sharpe Memorial Dog Park will also be open that day and the shelter will remain open until 3 p.m. for those interested in adopting a cat or dog.

The Canine Capers 4-H Dog Club will also make a donation of their used agility equipment to the shelter to help give canines some exercise while they wait to be adopted.

Conley says Lilly Anne may have to have additional surgeries in the future and will be on medicine for the rest of her life. But she is living her best life now, with an estimated life span of five to six years. In the meantime, Conley says she is currently in obedience training and hopes to train her in the future to become a therapy dog.

Additional updates on Lilly Anne and the upcoming birthday celebration can be found on Facebook under “Lilly Bear’s Rescue.”