BALTIMORE, Md. — Lilly the retriever had every reason to give up on people.
After being used to give birth to over 100 puppies a breeder asked a taxi driver to drop her off in the middle of a desert
For many dogs in Kuwait that is where their story ends.
It turns out Lilly’s story was just beginning as Wings of Love found her just in time to save her life.
“I would just come home and be in tears and my husband was like what’s going on? I was like all I think about is these dogs, there’s no hope for them,” said Patricia Riska.
Four years ago, Riska was working for a major airline on a route that flew to Kuwait regularly.
She saw the horrible conditions and neglect that many of the animals were being subjected to.
She met a flight attendant who was rescuing cats—that woman introduced her to some people who were saving dogs on the ground in Kuwait.
“I started going on my days off ,I’d bring one dog at a time in a cabin, then my major airline stopped flying there.”
Over 6,500 miles from Kuwait to Washington D.C. or 20 hours of total flight time with some potty breaks in between.
You would never know that Lilly made that journey less than a year ago as she happily runs with her new family member 12-year-old McKenna Lam.
“When we take her for walks, she gets really really excited,” McKenna said. “She’ll do spins and she will spin around and we haven’t even like taught her that.”
McKenna’s dad couldn’t believe what happened to Lilly when his neighbor Riska told him.
“She was used as a breeder dog and we believe she had over 100 pups,” Gary Lam said “Once her litter is no longer any good, usually at 5 years of age, they discard the breeder dog into the desert. They just drop them into the desert to die.”
Riska started non-profit organization with co-founder Jennifer Yoon.
They now buy full fare tickets and have gotten nearly 400 dogs adopted into loving home.
The heartbreak that Riska saw turned into love for so many families in the Baltimore area.
“The kennels there aren’t the best shape kennels,” Riska said. “Dogs are kind of treated like a purse. They buy a dog from a breeder overseas, bring it into their country and after a week or two they get tired of it and they dump them. It’s something that’s been happening for years and we just thought there’s no hope.”
Gary’s youngest daughter couldn’t stop smiling and hugging Lilly as we talked to them.
“My favorite thing is just watching my daughters faces light up when they see her. When they walk in the door, they can’t wait to greet her, and Lilly loves to snuggle up with them.”
In September a new group of 15 dogs finished their journey to Baltimore, and 11 of them already have permanent homes thanks to Wings of Love Kuwait.
If you want to donate or are interested in fostering or adopting a dog with them click here.