There’s nothing quite as ominous as a swarm of vultures circling the sky. Their presence, usually an indicator of impending death, is never a good sign. They fly in that specific pattern waiting to swoop down and peck at a carcass below.

That is why a photo of a Pit Bull puppy, named Lilo, in her little dog house, surrounded by vultures, wasn’t just strange, it was scary!

Source: lilosstory/Instagram

The photo told a story. The vultures knew that this puppy didn’t have long to live. She was neglected and helplessly chained to a tree nearby. She only had her little dog house and not much hope. The vultures knew it was only a matter of time before she became their next meal.

The photographer who took the photo, Rob Brown with Greensboro News and Record, likely saved Lilo’s life. Even with this stunning photo, Lilo’s owners left her there. They didn’t care about the consequences or the vultures’ intentions.

Thankfully, others did care. Animal control arrived at the home and took custody of Lilo. Her owners didn’t answer their door so they left them a note, telling them where Lilo was being taken. As if they cared.

Source: lilosstory/Instagram

It was immediately obvious that Lilo was in grave condition. She was skin and bones and she had pressure sores from laying on the ground with nothing to cushion her. There was no way they were going to allow Lilo to return to her original owners so The Merit Pit Bull Foundation took custody of the sweet girl.

Source: lilosstory/Instagram

She was placed in a foster home with Keana Lynch and her boyfriend, Travis Henley. Her new foster parents immediately worked on getting Lilo familiar with being inside a home. She had never set foot indoors before and while it was overwhelming at first, she happily adapted quickly.

Source: lilosstory/Instagram

Lilo was also placed on a high-calorie diet. Getting steady meals was a whole new thing for the puppy. She also learned what it was like to be loved too. Something every dog should experience on a daily basis! Her foster parents’ other dogs happily welcomed her to the pack.

Source: lilosstory/Instagram

Soon, Lilo’s foster parents realized that she belonged permanently with them. They proudly became foster failures and officially adopted Lilo. They couldn’t imagine letting her go. And we can’t blame them.

Source: lilosstory/Instagram

Update: It’s been four years since that heartbreaking photo went viral. Lilo is truly living her best life. While we wish she hadn’t been in that situation, to begin with, we are thrilled it is forever in her past.

To learn more about Lilo and her rescue, click play on the video below.