Editor’s note: In February, Retrieve a Golden of the Midwest learned about Lily, a nearly 8-year-old dog who was up for auction. She’d birthed 96 puppies in her life as a commercial breeding dog, and RAGOM wanted to give her a new life. Using a grant from Friends of Flicka, Lily was rescued from the puppy mill and freed from her caged existence. After receiving an abundance of tender-loving care during her acclimation time in a foster home, Lily was adopted by a perfectly angelic forever mom and Golden lover.

A few months later we received this beautiful letter.


Dear Friends of Flicka,

After owning Golden Retrievers for 35 years, my last Golden (Georgia) passed away in August 2018. Shortly after her death, I discovered RAGOM and admired their mission, but needed time to mourn the loss of my beloved Georgia. I had adopted an 8-year-old English Springer Spaniel (Bullet) in 2016 so I knew that when the time was right, I wanted to adopt an older rescue dog, preferably a Golden. In April 2019, I felt ready to welcome another dog into my home so I searched RAGOM’s website. On that very day, Lady Lily (Lily) became available for adoption and her profile sounded as if she was a perfect match for our small family. It had to be kismet!

Lily was rescued from a puppy mill in Indiana when she was 7 years old; she had birthed 96 puppies. Her foster mom Rona got her off to a great start and I was thrilled to be chosen as her forever mom on May 11, 2019. Despite all she’d been through, Lily had a calm demeanor and gentle nature.

Just two weeks after adopting her, I experienced a major house fire. Miraculously, both dogs survived. A firefighter heroically rescued Lily who was cowering in the corner of a basement bedroom. Her seemingly unflappable demeanor served her well – surviving the fire, enduring boarding at a local kennel and living in temporary housing.

Lily shows the most personality first thing in the morning. She wakes up about 5:30 a.m., greets Bullet and me and does a little happy dance. I imagine that every waking morning she thinks, “Yes, it’s not a dream! I somehow escaped the puppy mill, a house fire, and am now in my forever home with my new mom and best-buddy Bullet!”

Lily is so graceful; she has the ability to deftly move and never gets tangled in her leash. The local dog park is completely enclosed so she is able to run at full speed, which she loves to do. Her gracefulness makes her a beautiful sight to behold.

She loves Bullet, other dogs, cats, going for car rides, belly rubs, and carrying her baby (stuffed toy) around the house. The local vet clinic where she was boarded after the fire fell in love with her, so she occasionally visits the employees and their dogs that come to work with them. She has gone shopping a few times at a local store that allows pets and is always very calm when customers gush over her beauty and demeanor.

After a week at home, she found the courage to climb up onto the couch and now claims it as her domain; she loves to cuddle on the couch. She also gained the courage to accept treats out of my hand, but is still learning what it means to play. Tennis balls don’t interest her yet, and playing fetch is not yet in her comfort zone. But the goal every day is to figure out what she does love, and give her a happy, fun-filled life.

Many things still frighten her and there is still much work to be done. She is hesitant to go through doorways, is afraid of thunderstorms, must eat in private and is very trepidatious of anything new or different. But at the same time, she has “eureka” moments when you can see in her eyes that she realizes she no longer needs to fear something that previously petrified her. Constant reassurance that she is safe and will be protected and loved will hopefully help her to overcome her remaining puppy mill-induced fears in due time.

I can’t thank Friends of Flicka enough for donating the money for Lily’s rescue. It’s heartbreaking to know that such a gentle loving creature was enslaved for so many years, that she had several broken teeth, somehow endured the birth of 96 puppies, and that for over seven long years nobody was there to comfort, hug and pet her. I am so grateful Friends of Flicka provided funds so the second half of her life will be filled with the love, care, and fun that she so deeply deserves, as a cherished member of our family. Lady Lily is pure joy! Thank you for helping her find Bullet and me.

Home! Lily with her new loving family.