Lili's Story

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We're proud of giving Lili a home full of love, but sadness in our hearts comes from the thought on those puppies and other animals suffering captured in laboratory darkness, shivering on every sound, being afraid it might be their turn.

Lili is a small laboratory dog that was, thanks to the action f the Animal Friends and by a lucky star led to her adoption on July 21, 2005 from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb. At the moment of adoption she was two years old.

The first two years of her life growing-up caged in laboratories brought her some recognizable habits – fear of every sound, sudden movement but also an awkward one – Lili, you see, drinks cappuccino! I found that out during the firsts few days of us getting to know each other while I was sitting with Lili in my lap in a coffee bar and talking to my friend Visnja. Surprisely, Lili got interested for my cup and drank pretty a lot before we managed to take her the cup. Since then I know I have to put my coffee somewhere very high so that Lili, using chair to get on the table, then to the cupboard or working board, can't reach it. Obviously during those days of sad in the cage Lili developed the ability of thinking and creating plans. She's very intelligent and I would often find her sitting, seeing in her eyes that she's planning a move.

She came to our family coincidentally. You see, I already have three dogs – all of them mixed breeds adopted from pounds into our home to be saved. Hektor and Luna are both eleven years old, and Sebastian is five. Eventually they turned into family members who took all better places in the house: the sofa, armchair, chairs by the window, and I better not count how much damage they made playing their innocent games. So, I wasn’t even thinking of taking another dog.

I went to the protest in front of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine with my friend because we heard that the dogs had been there illegally and we saw a chance to get them out. I'll never forget that hot summer Sunday when I first heard the distraught barking of the beagles. Desperate moaning and disagreement with destiny was obvious in their voices and had a shocking effect on me. Soon the great day came when the beagles with news and TV fuss were given to their adopters. One of them was my Lili, called Viva by her first adopter. But Viva (alias my Lili) has one body flaw – she has no bottom, or better to say – no anus. She doesn't even have a tail but that's a smaller problem. In that moment she had only 9 pounds and had great problems with her stool. Her large intestine ends up in part without anus, and as Lili is obviously a fighter, she survived and compensated it with a sort of fistula that matches to the vaginal part, and by creating some sort of cloacae she empties her intestines… Even today it is still not clear whether there was some terrible experiment made on Lili or her parents had genes damaged by al sort of chemicals these dogs had to swallow during testing… However, nowadays it doesn't even matter. What matters is that she's a dog with special needs and requires a lot of love and patience from her fosters.

The foster who first took Lili, when understood what sort of disorder she had and which problems it creates, decided she couldn't keep her. So Lili was emergently brought back on the afternoon of the second day to Zagreb. Since there was terrible heat, and they had nowhere to put her, they asked me to take her temporarily since I have a big green backyard and a house. From the moment I saw that tiny helpless creature with the most beautiful eyes in the world I knew she was only mine and she would stay at my place. And so on July 22, 2005 our life together began.

When she just came to our place, she was afraid of the grass: it was something terrible for her and she didn't want to stand on it. Also, a few days later, she already looked like a little Dalmatian – since she was never on the sun, her body reacted with countless number of spottiest – Lili got tanned on her dog way.

Lili is unusually tender and careful. Because of her body flaw she can't control her stool and therefore she got her room where she sleeps with many toys on the bed by the radiator and glass balcony doors through where, peacefully leaned on her two pillows, she enjoys looking at the world. She sleeps in this room only by night, while daily she normally runs through the entire house and yard and enjoys in pack with Luna, Hector and Sebastian. This little creature is full of love for the entire world and she inevitably kisses us each morning after she wakes up and then puts out all of her toys on the yard next to the main door and there, amazed, she observes the world. The word amazed must be taken literally, because even today vastness and freedom are still things which she observes astonishingly.

Living with Lili has brought changes into the house – she's a little crook that can't control her instinct to grab something if she wants it and start running away with her prey. The rest of my dogs were flabbergasted, since they were learned with much love not to touch the food even if it stands at their reach, except if I precisely allow them to. When Lili would grab the food from the table, they were warning on theft with desperate looks and barking. They literally had a question in their eyes – how is she allowed to do it? But, who could punish a dog that came from a laboratory cage, has barely 9 pounds and has no butt or tail, a dog that twitches on every murmur, cough or move…

The scariest part was with the doors – as soon as we'd open them, she'd start rushing around the house. She was in war against our house assistant Paula, because for Lili vacuum cleaner and broom were obviously reminders of the laboratory. And so, when we would try to open the door or cough or sneeze, first we'd try to let her know about it and call her so she doesn't get scared.

However, these days are now behind us. Now Lili has 20 pounds, doesn't twitch on every sound and is a happy dog with its home and family. The problem with her stool was solved in a way Lili was drinking Tibetan mushroom potion. The only remained problem is she can't understand that she can't go out when we're getting out or in of our backyard by car. As soon as she sees someone's getting ready to go out or taking car keys, she runs to the door, where she stands still and waits to be put in someone's arms. Still, it's a small sacrifice from our household for a tender creature full of love for the entire world.

We're proud for giving Lili a home full of love, but sadness in our hearts comes from thought of all those puppies and other animals suffering captured in laboratory darkness and shivering on every sound, being afraid it's their turn. That's why the thought of year 2009 when the experiments on animals for cosmetics will be forbidden in Europe and here makes me happy. It gives us hope for a better and more humane world, to which we're looking forward.

Gordana Vecaj

July 4, 2006

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