A dog was discovered alone and wandering with the most heartbreaking note on her collar.

Earlier this week, staff at the McKamey Animal Center in Tennessee took a sweet-faced dog named Lilo in to their care. She’d been found, walking around all alone, by a Good Samaritan, who then brought her to the shelter for safekeeping.

How Lilo had ended up in that predicament, however, didn’t stay a mystery for long.

Lilo, who was still wearing a leash when she was found, had something else attached to her collar, too. It was a note from her mom to whomever so happened to make Lilo’s acquaintance.

Handwritten on that slip of paper were these heart-wrenching words:

“My name is Lilo. Please love me. My mom can’t keep me and is homeless with 2 kids. She tried her best but can’t get help. I cost too much for her. She really loves me & I’m a great dog & love to be loved on. Please don’t abuse me.”

Lilo was now in good hands. But staff at the McKamey Animal Center were not just concerned about the dog’s welfare alone. Touched by Lilo’s mom’s letter, they posted a reply online intended for her:

“We are so sorry that you had to make the decision to leave [Lilo] behind. We know many folks are struggling to care for their pets right now. We know how hard it must be to give up an animal you so clearly loved because you can’t provide the care she needs. We understand,” the shelter wrote.

“We want you to know she is safe, and we will take the very best care of her. She will be loved by our staff and volunteers, we will keep her name, and we promise you we will do our best to find her a wonderful new home. But if you are reading 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. Lilo definitely misses you, and we would like nothing more than to see her go back to the family she loves. Either way, please know that we understand, we will not judge, and we are here to help in any way we can.”

Just a few days after posting that heartfelt appeal to Lilo’s mom, the shelter heard back.

Lilo’s mom had been located — and invited to reconnect with the pup she clearly loves so dearly.

With any luck, Lilo’s mom will soon be back on her feet, able to provide all the care she knows Lilo deserves. But, sadly, she’s not alone when it comes the troubles she faces as a pet owner experiencing homelessness.

Lilo’s caretakers at the shelter, meanwhile, hope to spare other pets from the predicament Lilo was put in.

“Abandoning an animal is illegal, but more importantly, it should never have to be an option,” the shelter wrote.

The McKamey Animal Center urges people who are struggling to seek out help. Local shelters are often the best resources for assistance with pets, but nationwide programs like Feeding Pets of the Homeless exist to offer assistance as well.

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