Lily’s Story, by Rich Strader


Lily is the love and the light of my life. If you’ve ever had a special dog like Lily, then you will understand right away what I’m talking about.

Lily was born, raised and perhaps had 13 litters of puppies at the Reedgate Kennels before we were able to buy her at auction. Her time there was spent in a wire cage with a board to sleep on and a rabbit water bottle to drink from. While in the mill she received little or no vet care and because of this she lost all her teeth and her lower jaw rotted off, which is not unusual for the smaller breeds in the puppy mills. Everything that was precious to her was taken away (her puppies). The human hand brought only misery.

When she came to me I took her to work everyday and she slept in the warmth of my Irish Wolfhound’s stomach. She slowly learned to trust and in seven months she would come to me to get on my lap!

Lily is my inspiration. She can teach anyone about love, courage and the ability to forgive. Unfortunately the cancer she aquired through years of neglect is now close to ending her life. I have promised her she will never be alone again and I will be with her at the end. To date she is responsible for saving over 7500 dogs as she is the inspiration and founder of National Mill Dog Rescue.

Lily died in my arms on May 13, 2008. She will always be missed.  

~ Rich Strader 

Please share!

28 Responses to “Lily’s Story, by Rich Strader”

  1. Anonymous

    So, so sorry for the loss of your Lily. Bless you for having the heart to take her and show her lover before her life ended knowing only misery. She went over Rainbow Bridge happier for having you in her life.

  2. Anonymous

    Thankyou for loving her and taking such good care. I hope all dogs in need find love and a home they need and deserve.

  3. Anonymous

    You were an angel for her and now she is yours..Bless you Sir, the world needs more people like you.

  4. Anonymous

    Dear Rich, Tears just flow. Thank you for rescuing Lily. Happy she had you to love and care for her. Lily is an Angel and you as well. God bless you.

  5. Anonymous

    Tears,I hope it brings you some comfort to know she died in loving arms and not a horrid cage,lonely and unloved! God bless you for showing her that not all of us humans are selfish,greedy and heartless…R.I.P. Lily

  6. Anonymous

    God bless you for rescuing Lily and giving her the love that she so deserved. This is a special place in heaven for you and for her. May she Rest in Peace knowing that you loved her till the end.

  7. Anonymous

    I have seen these pictures, read this story and it always affects me the same way – squeezes my heart…and makes it ache with longing for sweet Lilly. Rich, you and Lilly had something very very special – can you only imagine how happy she was to take that love to the Bridge with her? Like a red badge of courage, she wears her love. Until we meet again Lilly – till we meet again. (Linda Keith, Poteet, Tx) xoxoxo

  8. Anonymous

    ‘God Bless You’ Sir, for showing Lily the Love and Kindness she so Richly Deserved…
    And for Protecting Sweet Lily.

    God Rest Lily’s Soul…
    May She Have Eternal Peace in Your Care.

    Dewy Eyed from UK xoxoxo

  9. AnnCluck

    What an amazing story, furbaby and daddy. This world needs more people like you and doggies like lily.

    I was rescued by a sweet pitti/labrador and my life is the better for it.

    May God bless you and you are pawsome!!

  10. Martha

    My heart aches and hurts every time I ready her story. What ever happened to the breeder. I hope they paid with many years in jail. Life in jail. I pray and cry ever since I seen Lilly story and pictures. There is no words to day but that I will love her and remember her till the day I died.

  11. Jennette

    Little Lilly, one of God’s precious lives, used by greedy people who should never own an animal in the first place. She’s one of the very lucky ones to be saved and loved. And so many more saved in her name.

  12. Lance

    Rich and Theresa, thank you for all you are doing for these dogs. I think you are both incredible people. And while I know you aren’t doing the work you do for a better afterlife, I believe you will have special places in heaven most likely close to all those you have helped. I learned about Lily from some random search on youtube and I use to not be able to watch those videos of abused and neglected dogs. I would run to the TV to turn it off with my eyes closed if I heard the ASPCA commercial start. It was too painful. But something about Lily when she caught my eye, something in her eyes maybe…I watched her documentary, sobbed but I watched it and learned. So thank you Lily, although I didn’t have the honor to meet you, for helping me get past my comfort level to see what is really going on. I won’t remain ignorant because it’s too hard to face reality or silent because no one wants to talk about it. I’m angry and motivated to make a change if even a little one. I’ve been speaking out (just ask my family and friends) and I plan to spend sometime at the one pet store in my county or neighboring county that sells puppies. I have some other ideas I’m working on to that 20 years in the media has taught me, TBA. 2016 will be a great year against mills, I feel it. So thanks again Straders for opening my eyes. My life is changed.

  13. Rosa

    Bless you, you Amazing man.. she is still with you & loves you deeply.
    I hate these puppy mills!

  14. Emily sparks

    Oh my god how horriable for that little angel.thank god you saved her foor the little time she had tears wont stop so sadgod bless you

  15. Robert

    Lilie was such an innocent soul that finally had an
    angel come to save her and give her Love and safety, something every living thing deserves! Bless you and her the story brought tears to my eyes.

  16. Chistine

    I was cry and feel sad because we felt for the love of dogs as our family coz they need to a loving and csring like ours human they also created by God.thank you for the love for dogs.bless you who all responsible for all the attention and genuine love you gave to her that she desrved.may you continue your mission as you can.❤️????

  17. Linda

    This story is so precious and also sad. So glad you found each other. I hate when animals are hurt by these people who are just cold-hearted and can be so mean. I can not understand how they can be so cruel. I thank the Lord for folks like you who reach out and help these precious pets.

  18. Elona Meyronne

    So sorry that this was her life and thank u for giving her a home and love on her last period of life.

    These that handled her as a breeding machine should be put in this cage.

  19. Carla Sundy

    Bless her little heart, the story made me cry. I am so thankful for someone like you to see the beautiful soul and the pain in this precious dog. You gave her love and a happy home and were there to hold her when she left, God bless you

  20. Lola

    God bless you for takeing such good care of that darling girl Miss Lily.I have three little girls of my own my oldest one is 16 yes old and I am not ready to loss her yet but I fell her time is coming soon and my heart breaks every time I look at her or hold her I just hope she knows how much I love her I don’t know how you can see them take there last breath I can’t it breaks my heart even more.My friend is going to be with her when it’s time am I wrong for doing that?


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)