(Picture Credit: Gary Yeowell / Getty Images)

After discovering a handwritten note attached to a collar of a stray dog, an animal shelter reunites a dog with her homeless owner. The owner was forced to make the difficult decision of abandoning her dog due to experiencing homelessness. The shelter staff shared the heartbreaking story on social media, ultimately leading to a touching reunion.

Animal Shelter Reunites a Dog With Homeless Owner

After receiving a call from a resident about a large dog running loose in a neighborhood, a Chattanooga-based animal shelter’s protection team went into action. After picking up the Great Pyrenees mix, the team soon discovered that the dog was no ordinary stray.

Attached to the dog’s collar was a handwritten note. “Please love me,” it said. Details on the note further indicated the pup was not a stray, but abandoned as an act of desperation.

“My mom can’t keep me and is homeless with two kids,” the note continues. “She tried her best but can’t get help. I cost too much for her. She really loves me and I’m a great dog and love to be loved on. Please don’t abuse me.”

The McKamey Animal Center’s Director of Advancement, Lauren Mann, told reporters it was “one of the saddest things” she has ever read. “It was so clear to us that Lilo was well-loved and cared for,” Mann said. “The note attached to her collar proved that this was an act of desperation and not something that wanted to be done.”

The note further requested that the dog’s name, Lilo, should not be changed. “Please keep my name,” the letter said.

A Touching Reunion After Video Goes Viral

Staff at the shelter shared a now-viral TikTok, hoping that the video would help locate the owner.

“We are so sorry you had to make the decision to leave her behind,” the video begins. “We know many people are struggling to care for their pets right now, and we know how hard it must be to give up an animal you so clearly loved, and who so clearly loved you. If you’re watching this, we hope you will come forward to reclaim her. We will help you with whatever you need to care for her, to the best of our ability.”

A significant number of people experiencing homelessness have a pet, but some refuse to accept temporary housing because their companions are unable to join them due to shelter policies. The policies leave people with the difficult choice to accept shelter or abandon their pets.

Only a few days after the video went viral, Lilo’s owner contacted the shelter. The joyful reunion left everyone in tears.  “Everyone was extremely happy, there was not a dry eye in the room,” Mann recounts. “The kids were also just as excited, and emotional as everyone else.”

While additional details cannot be shared, the McKamey Animal Center is actively working to establish shelter and resources so that the family is able to stay together.

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