"Sometimes love should be enough."
There are all kinds of families. Lilly's parents are human and her brothers are dogs. It doesn't matter that Lilly herself is a deer. Or does it? Last summer, the State of Michigan tried to take Lilly away from the only family she had known, prompting a legal debate the bridged a gray area between what was "appropriate" and what was the right thing to do. Lilly's story is a story about family, about love and about the difficult risks and responsibilities that can't always be directed by law.
Lilly's own mom gave birth to her as she died from injuries after being struck by a car. Raised from birth in her Michigan home, Lilly didn't know there was anything unusual about her family. But her presence there was in violation of the State Law regarding keeping wildlife as pets. The state's initial solution: release Lilly into the wild, in spite of the fact that she had never lived anywhere outside her home. As the news of her story spread, the public rallied around Lilly and her family. "Sometimes love should be enough," Lilly's mom told the news reporters who contacted her. And it's true.
Lilly's story is a testament to the bonds of family, which come in all forms, and to compromise. With the help of a lawyer, they were able to keep their family intact by becoming licensed as a wildlife sanctuary with a maximum capacity of one deer.
Ken Foster, author of the books The Dogs Who Found Me and I'm aGood Dog, and Traer Scott, the author and photographer of the books Shelter Dogs, Newborn Puppies and the forthcoming Nocturne: Creatures of the Night, were captivated by the story and immediately began pursuing options to tell the story as a collaboration. But deer books are not dog books, and so far, no commercial publisher is interested in the work.
Through the support of Kickstarter donors, Traer and Ken will be able to finance a smaller scale project, creating a short publication that shares Lilly's story as well as lessons in the proper protocols for protecting orphaned wildlife. (Hint: Don't take them home!) The booklet will be printed and offered for distribution at the upcoming Best Friends Animal Society Conference in October 2014 as well as other animal welfare conferences.
Lilly's story will be heard.
Risks and challenges
Our initial hope was to find a commercial publisher interested in a full-length account of Lilly's love story and the unique ethical and legal questions that her family faced in saving her life. We still hope that one day a publisher will see the enormous universal appeal in the story, but meanwhile we plan to take it into our own hands. Fortunately, we have experience designing and distributing The Sula Foundation's annual calendar, so we feel confident that if we meet our fundraising goal, we can produce and print the book for the October Best Friends conference, where Lilly's story will share space on the exhibit hall floor with The Sula Foundation.
Our current budget includes covering the expense of photographing Lilly and her family in Michigan, printing and distribution of the book and fulfilling and mailing the rewards. If we exceed our goal, we will expand the distribution to include classrooms and humane education programs around the country.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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