The Lilly Project

A Special Initiative to Retire Cats and Dogs from Motherhood


Meet Lilly – a beautiful, happy girl, and the very first beneficiary of our newest initiative.

Lilly and her brother, Tucker, were found together when they were just weeks old.  They had been left on the side of the road, wrapped in a towel.  Lucky for them, a kind family – the Dentons – stopped and picked them up.  The pups were dirty, covered in fleas and in need of a good meal.

The Denton family took them in with the intention of finding them a home, but quickly became attached to the pups. In no time at all, they realized that their roadside rescues had already found their home, and the two dogs became a permanent part of the Denton family.  “Lilly and Tucker have blessed our lives and have shown us a kind of loyalty that only man’s best friend can provide,” says Joshua Denton.  The pups bonded with all of the members of the family, including the Denton’s other dogs – Rusty, a boxer, and Tiger, a pitbull.

Lilly and her brother, Tucker, at treat time!

In the blink of an eye, it seemed, the pups grew into adult dogs – and more puppies were on the way.  Lilly became pregnant and delivered a healthy litter of puppies.  Without having anywhere else to place the pups, the Dentons placed the litter with the Harnett County shelter for adoption.Then Lilly became pregnant again, and delivered another litter.


And several months later… another.

But the last time the Dentons took puppies to the shelter, something different happened.  They were given a voucher from HAWC for a free spay surgery. They happily accepted the offer, and contacted us at HAWC to set up Lilly’s spay appointment.

A short while later, Lilly was spayed, thanks to the work of HAWC volunteers and funds from kind donors.  She returned home to the Dentons, where she quickly recovered and went right back to her carefree life as a beloved family pet.  Lilly is officially retired from motherhood now, and the Dentons no longer have to worry about any more litters of puppies coming along.

We visited the Dentons recently to see how Lilly was doing.  Our HAWC volunteers appreciate the hospitality that the Denton family showed us in their home.  We saw firsthand how much they love their pets and value them as a part of the family.  Because we were so touched by Lilly’s story, we named this special initiative the Lilly Project.

Sweet Lilly enjoying the company of her family.

“Our dogs love us. I can see it in their eyes and actions.  They’re my babies and I’m their daddy,” says Joshua.  “The Denton family doesn’t just consist of two-legged human beings.  The four-legged ones are our family, too.”