Payden Trujillo was driving down the road in Utah in January 2016 when she nearly hit a dog. It ran across the road in front of her. When she stopped, she was able to use a treat to lure the puppy into the car.
Her first idea was to take the dog to her dad's house and see if they could find the owners. The little black-and-white dog had a collar and tags. These usually make the search much easier, since they include contact info.
What these tags contained instead was a heartbreaking story: "My name is Lilly, if you found me, pls keep me :) My fam cant and I need love."
At that point, Payden's sister Mercedes realized that no home and family waited for Lilly. She had been abandoned.
Payden and Mercedes couldn't figure out why anyone would have abandoned Lilly on a snowy road in winter after making up those specific dog tags instead of taking her to one of the local no-kill shelters. Perhaps they didn't want to pay a surrender fee, or perhaps the owner was in an abusive relationship and wanted to save Lilly, somehow.
This theory was backed up by Lilly's fear of men and terror of abandonment. Though Payden adopted her, she struggled to find a home for both of them that would accommodate Payden's destructive behavior when left alone. After a year, Payden returned to school (in mechanical engineering) and was able to take Lilly with her to classes.
Now two years old, Lilly is much more relaxed. She has a Greyhound bud named Ayla and goes hiking with her human mom. She has blossomed into an active and loving dog. She even has her own Instagram account where you can keep up with her continuing adventures.
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