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Lily Unleashed

About the Book

Dogs sold from puppy mills carry behavioral baggage just like children reared in orphanages and in foster care as Lily quickly learns in this middle-grade novel.


When sixth-grader Lily Grabowski takes in her teacher’s puppy-mill rescue dog, without parental permission, it sets off a chain of events that challenges her dog smarts, self-esteem, and ideas about what it means to be a true friend.

As Lily’s heart opens to this tiny dog, complications mount. Cagney howls all day because of separation anxiety. Lily’s nemesis neighbor threatens to call the dog warden about a noise nuisance. BFF drama threatens Lily’s class project on why underdogs matter. Lily’s over-protective mom issues a thirty-day ultimatum, and Lily’s guilty conscience grows while a broken promise looms.

In the end, Lily must choose.  Either surrender Cagney because his needs are bigger than her ability to help him or stand up for what she believes will save him.  

Lily Unleashed Book Cover

What Readers Say

"Lily Unleashed is a remarkable story that ideally captures the challenges and the joys of rescuing a puppy mill dog. The story is not only a strong motivator for our youth to want to undertake important causes, but is empowering by showing how one ordinary adolescent can truly make a difference. Animals around the world are in need of caring advocates like Lily  –  and every young person can become one. Just think about the potential for good in the world if everyone did."

Franklin D. McMillan, DVM


American College of Animal Welfare

"If Lily Unleashed would have been available when I was a young girl, I know it would have been my favorite book!  As an animal advocate, I am so grateful to Ms. Kloster for writing a book about puppy mills and animal rescue whose target audience is middle schoolers.  The characters in Lily Unleashed are very relatable and entertaining, each with such a kind soul.  The ugly, cruel truth about pet stores and puppy mills is seamlessly intertwined with a compassionate, heartwarming story that makes it not only an appropriate book for kids, but, I would strongly suggest, required reading for all youth as they are our hope for a more humane future."

Becky Monroe

Author of Bark Until Heard & 

Animal Welfare Advocate

"Lily Unleashed is a charming and informative tale that does the essential job of educating future animal advocates. Kloster shows how a young person can truly make a difference on an issue that matters to them. Her story offers a poignant and touching narrative that communicates the heartrending truth behind the big business of puppies for sale in a way that young hearts and minds can grasp and hold onto. A loving portrait of how compassion for animals can change our lives for the better and inspire us to make a better future for the four-legged friends we cherish the most."

Rory Kress

Author of The Doggie in the Window
Investigative Journalist

Inspired by Cagney, Puppy Mill Survivor

Lily Unleashed is a story of hope and understanding. Of friendship and forgiveness. Of speaking up for the underdog. Through Lily’s journey, and this website, readers learn how to make a difference for the traumatized dogs waiting for release from their puppy mill cages.

Cagney Sitting
Playful Cagney
Cagney on the blue comforter
Cagney sleeping on book
Playful Cagney
Cagney on Sofa
Director Cagney
“Puppy mill survivors are incredible underdogs. They’ve lived in conditions no dog should ever know. And believe it or not, they don’t hold it against us.” 

--Lily Grabowski
Puppy Mill Dogs in Cages
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