On day of rescue
As you can see from her pictures, at only 35 pounds, Lilly is literally a walking skeleton. She was rescued from the east side shelter on July 23rd. She had gone unnoticed by our rescue as she had been listed as a "greyhound mix" because she was so very thin. A big THANK YOU to Janet from the east side shelter who took the time to take another look and saw Lilly for what she is -- a white German Shepherd. Probably a mix, but a white GSD nonetheless. (She was named by two of our rescuers after a wonderful dog named Lily, owned by a very dear friend.)

Once liberated from her cell at the shelter, Lilly followed our transporter willingly out to her vehicle, jumped in and settled right down for the ride. Upon arrival at her new foster home, it was discovered that Lilly knows some obedience commands and is very responsive to human touch. It was reported that while at the shelter, Lilly had some problems being handled by men who worked at the shelter, but we have seen no evidence of this thus far. She is protective of herself when confined in a crate, but once outside is loving to everyone she meets. There is probably some greyhound (or other sight hound) in there somewhere, but whatever the combination, this is one sweet little girl.

Lilly is now safe and resting comfortably, her fate safely in the hands of Southwest German Shepherd Rescue; however, in order to determine if there is an underlying cause for her condition or whether she has simply been starved, we will need to do extensive bloodwork and tests on this girl and possibly put her on a special diet and/or supplements. Unfortunately, with rescue being what it is during the summer months, are are currently financially committed beyond our limits.


UPDATE 7/26: Thanks to the generosity of Lilly's Angels, we were able to get Lilly right in to the vet to get started on her bloodwork and hopefully the road to diagnoses and treatment of her problem(s). Sad to say, Lilly weighed in at 35 pounds; about half of what she should be. However, she was happy, calm and very sweet throughout her exam and blood draw and made quite a few new friends at the vet's office. Everyone there is pulling for her. We should have results over the next several days.

UPDATE 7/27: The initial results of Lilly's bloodwork are in! She is NEGATIVE for tick fever and heartworm. The valley fever and other levels should be in by Friday. Please keep Lilly in your thoughts and prayers.

UPDATE 7/29: The remaining tests results are in. Our Lilly tested NEGATIVE for Valley Fever, which is definitely good news. Some of her blood values were elevated, a few low, all of which were indications that she is deficient in nutrition. No look could confirm that! Her cTLI (Canine Tripsin Like Immunoreactivity) test, which should read between 5 and 3.5, was 3.0. (A true EPI [Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency] dog has a reading of 2.5 or lower.) In essence, Lilly is borderline EPI.*

What does all this mean? Well, the exocrine function of the pancreas is to secrete the digestive enzymes (amylase & lipase) into the small intestine which is needed to break down and absorb certain foods such as proteins and fats. Simply put, when the enzyme production is low or insufficient, the dog is not absorbing all of their food intake.

*For more info on EPI, which is not uncommon in German Shepherds, go to BOOBOO MEMORIAL FUND and click on the link to the Merck Veterinary Manual. Keep in mind, however, that Boo was an EPI dog (not borderline) and was producing NO enzymes whatsoever. We suspect she had other GI problems as well. Lilly is only borderline EPI and is producing enzymes just below normal levels.

Since, in Lilly's case, this is borderline, we are hopeful that the course of action we've chosen will be quite effective. She is already on Prozyme, and a (readily available) special prescription diet starts tomorrow. We will monitor her weight regularly (once a week) and assess the results after two weeks. If this does the trick, then Lilly's condition is easily and comparatively inexpensively managed from that point forward. If it is not effective, or as effective as we'd like, then we go from plant enzymes to animal enzymes, which are very expensive.

Thanks to Lilly's Angels, we have have both enzymes on hand at the ready for her use. Lilly, meanwhile, doesn't seem to think anything is wrong. She's just a Princess in her new castle enjoying the attention and comforts of a caring, loving environment. Now that we know she is not sick or contagious, she'll be spending more time just being a dog; doing the things dogs like to do, meeting and playing with her new friends.

UPDATE 7/31: Again thanks to Lilly's Angels, she has been started on her special diet. We don't expect miracles, but we are hoping for the best. The vet says to keep her on it for 2 weeks and check her weight every week and we'll see. She seems to be eating well, and her potty breaks have cut down considerably.

Watch for updates on how she relates to the world around her and those in it. We think every day will reap greater rewards for us and for Lilly.

Lilly moves into the "Isolation Ward" (also known as the TLC Ward) at her foster mom's

UPDATE 8/02: Lilly is showing signs of kennel cough. We were hoping she would be spared, as she certainly does not need any added problems. We are coaxing her to continue eating and she is, as always, in good spirits. She has been moved into the "isolation ward" at her foster's home, where she will receive the best of care.

UPDATE 8/07: We brought Lilly in to the vet today for a weight check. After being on her special diet for only a week, she has gained 2 pounds! Not bad considering Lilly only weighed 35 pounds when she started. She's definitely a happier girl and is responding well to the non-stop TLC she is receiving at her foster home and to the antibiotics for the kennel cough, which can sometimes upset the stomach but which don't seem to be slowing Lilly down one bit.

UPDATE 8/13: Lilly has not had a very good week. The kennel cough has really dragged her down and taking her to the vet for a weight check seemed pointless as she has obviously lost some weight. We are continuing the antibiotics and are hopeful that Lilly will overcome this latest obstacle and begin eating again.

UPDATE 8/16: Lilly seems to be feeling a little bit better and her appetite has increased. We are hopeful that her improvement will steadily continue throughout the week. We will be taking her into the vet for a weight check within the next week. If Lilly gains weight and continues to gain over the next few weeks, we are hopeful that she will soon be ready for adoption. She will probably always require Prozyme in her diet, but this is comparatively inexpensive and readily available.

UPDATE 8/23: Two weeks of kennel cough and antibiotics have not been kind to Lilly. She is down to 33 pounds. Otherwise, she is a happy girl, but obviously she's not gaining weight as we'd like to see. We've decided to try a different course and put her on a new enzyme and regular dog food rather than the prescription diet (which Lilly doesn't particularly like) she's currently on. We'll know in a week if we're on the right track with our girl. If you'd like to join Lilly's Angels and support her fight, just click on her picture above. The new enzyme we're trying is very expensive, but if it works, it's well worth the price for our Lilly.

Lilly on August 30th

UPDATE 9/03: We currently have Lilly on the enzymatic supplement Viokase, with regular premium dog food. She is off all other medications. We are trying to estimate the cost of Lilly's long-term care for any potential adopters, but that's going to depend on how much she will need of the Viokase every month. The goal is now to get her to a healthy and acceptable weight--our initial goal is 50-55 pounds--before adjusting the dosage in order to determine the lowest possible maintenance dose.

There are several factors to consider:

Dogs diagnosed with full blown EPI require this enzyme for life. In cases such as Lilly's, where the pancreas is producing some enzymes on its own, sometimes after treatment and weight gain, the pancreas is stimulated to start increased production of the needed enzymes, resulting in the reduction or eventual elimination of the need for such supplementation. Only time will tell. There are also less expensive, generic alternatives to Viokase, not to mention some natural bovine or porcine products.

Lilly's structure is similar to that of a sight hound...perhaps greyhound or she doesn't need to gain or maintain a tremendous amount of weight. As of right now, a teaspoon of Viokase at each meal is keeping Lilly on the right path, and she is gaining weight by leaps and bounds. Once she reaches her target weight, we will gradually cut back a bit on the Viokase or try mixing with Prozyme (another less expensive enzyme), possibly recheck her TLI levels and elimination, and barring any surprises...Lilly will be good to go!

UPDATE 8/30: A week on the new enzyme and lots of good food and TLC have made a world of difference to Lilly.

She weighed in today at 42.8 pounds!!!!!

That is almost a 10 pound gain in one week, and Lilly's Angels have made it all possible. Without your donations, prayers and good wishes, Lilly would not be where she is today -- well on her way to better health and a forever home. We anticipate that if Lilly continues to do well on the enzymes, she will be fit and ready for adoption some time in September.

UPDATE 9/08: Weigh-in day for Lilly. Another gain! She's 47 pounds today and another step closer to adoption.

UPDATE 9/15: 47.2 pounds today. Not a big gain, but a gain nonetheless. Lilly's weight gain seems to be slowing down as she approaches her ideal weight -- our goal is 50+ pounds. Her energy level is good and she's very happy and active. We're now able to concentrate more on her personality and less on her medical needs, and Lilly has blossomed into a surprisingly congenial young lady. She's playful and obedient and follows you on leash or off. She loves to go for rides in the car and hops right in when you open the door and settles down for the ride. Lilly has definitely learned the weigh-in routine at the vet's office. She goes in the front door, turns left, hops onto the scale, turns around and sits down, waiting for you to read the scale. And she knows by the tone of your voice whether it's a gain or a loss!

This is one smart little girl who will make someone a wonderful companion, all for the price of a teaspoon of powder in her food dish. (We do know that at this point, that an 8 ounce bottle of Viokase will last you about a month.)

UPDATE 9/21: We have discovered that Lilly has had quite a bit of training. She is completely reliable off-leash and will stop on a dime and return to you when called, even when in full pursuit of something she feels she MUST chase. She is protective of her people around other dogs. She does not like dogs or cats coming close when she is in her crate, but is friendly to all when uncrated. She will sit, down and shake on command. She is also a social butterfly and will approach everyone with a smile and a wagging tail to collect the attention she feels she is due, except when she is "guarding" her foster mom's vehicle. Anyone approaching is met with a "stay away" warning from Lilly.

Lilly (at right) & Annie enjoy a good game of tug-o-war

Unfortunately, this week Lilly has decided that dog food is not her cup of tea. She loves pizza and pasta particularly, and will also help the cat finish her food, but because of her special needs, we must maintain her doggie food diet (with the added enzyme). We're having a minor battle of wills with our Lilly, and she has managed to lose a pound. But, she is otherwise active and happy -- you just have to keep an eye on your plate if you happen to be having a snack in front of the TV! Lilly is ever on patrol for an unattended dish! We will be firm in our resolve to feed her only what is good for her and see what the week will hold. We'll find out come weigh-in day next week!

We have been advised of an alternative source for the enzyme that Lilly requires, which is much less expensive but comparable to Viokase (which Lilly is currently on). When purchased in bulk, the new enzyme is $25-30 per month, compared to $90+ per month for Viokase!

Lilly (at right) in happier times

UPDATE 9/28: Weigh-in day for Lilly -- she's up to 48.6 pounds!! Lilly has had a great week. She's eating well and definitely feeling like a healthy girl. She plays non-stop and her zest for life has returned. We have upped her enzyme just a small bit, and this seems to be making a difference for her. Lilly is ready to begin her search for her forever home.


UPDATE 10/15/04 - FIRST REPORT FROM LILLY's ADOPTIVE DAD: Lilly has completely taken over the house. She sleeps with her dad and is completely in love with her new brother, Dante. And, the best news is, today at the vet for her check-up, Lilly weighed in at 53 and a half pounds!!!

UPDATE 10/24/04: We are heartbroken to report that Lilly was struck and killed by a car this morning. She had spent the morning running and playing with her dad and brother, Dante, in the mountains. Upon their return home, Lilly and her brother bolted from her dad and ran across a busy street. Dante, who was about 3 feet behind Lilly, made it to the other side of the street...Lilly did not. We can only say that Lilly was happy and thriving in her new home. She had finally found her forever family ... only to lose it in such a tragic way.

So that Lilly's wonderful spirit may endure in the form of helping others like her with medical needs that our rescue could never have afforded to treat without the help of our angels, we have established the LILLY MEMORIAL FUND. This fund will be used exclusively for our rescues' medical needs.

Donations to the Lilly Memorial Fund may be made via checks made payable to White GSD Rescue and mailed to:

White GSD Rescue
2807 W Michelle Drive
Phoenix, AZ 85053-1732
(this is a mailing address dogs at this address)

If you would like a tax receipt for your donation, please make your check payable to C.A.B.R.A. and mail to:

c/o Bill Ferrell, Treasurer
116 Pioneer Street
Gilbert, AZ 85233

Please note on your check "For White GSD Rescue - Lilly's Fund"

MANY THANKS to everyone who cared.

For more information, Email Nancy at