I wrote my first post about Miss Lillian on March 18, 2011. I asked readers then to “follow Lillian on her journey,” and I promised, “You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll enjoy the trip with this very special lady.”

I hope my 2,400-plus followers have enjoyed her trip so far.

Lillian Mae Kennedy was approximately 5 years old when she came to live with us in March, 2011. She suffered from a high level of heartworm infestation because she was a puppy mill breeder. She was tossed out when she could no longer make money for ruthless humans. She was picked up as a stray and taken to the shelter that, at the time, was active in Pell City. She missed two “e-dates” (that’s shelter speak for the arbitrary day she would be killed) because no one saw her in the cell.

The shelter adoption coordinator realized that Lillian had lots more living to do, so she sent her to a rescue, and I was approved to foster her until she was cured of the deadly worms and spayed. Her recovery was nothing short of miraculous; within two months of the treatment – which can be deadly in itself – Lilly was free of heartworms.

She’s approximately 10 or 11 now, and she’s now facing the hardest time of her life.

Our sweet Lillian has advanced cardiac disease. She has an enlarged heart and fluid around her heart and in her lungs. Late last week, she experienced respiratory distress, and we all – including her veterinarian that she wouldn’t last the day.

But we should have known Lilly would not go gently into that good night. She rallied, and despite her poor prognosis, she’s at home doing what she does best: Reigning over the Kennedy Compound.

We’ll be taking her for a visit to the awesome animal cardiologist Ingrid Straeter-Nolan in Homewood, Ala., for a complete workup, and with Dr. Straeter’s help, we’ll develop a plan to keep Miss Lillian living a great quality of life for as long as possible.

So, now I’m asking my readers to join us on another journey. Sadly, I know where this one will end, but I hope for lots of adventures before that day comes.


About Veronica

I worked at The Birmingham News for 27 years; during my tenure, I was a feature writer, copy editor, and reporter covering beats from business to community news. Now, my husband, Joey, and I run Animal Advocates of Alabama (, a news and information website that covers animal-related issues throughout the state. We live on Birmingham's Southside with a grumble of pugs, a Calico cat, and a a few other dogs of varying sizes.
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  1. Jo Self says:

    Prayers are with Miss Lillian!

  2. Kathy Brooks says:

    I’m so sorry, Veronica. You’re blessed to have each other…I hope Miss Lillian’s
    last days are as comfortable and loving as possible until the “Rainbow Bridge” appears.

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