Our People And History

The Lily Pond Sanctuary was founded in 2015 by Susan Bandy, who has loved animals her whole life. Aware of the high number of animals at risk, she dreamed of one day creating a sanctuary that would provide a home for the unloved and unwanted. After college, she started saving towards her dream. Twenty years later, in 2016, that dream became a reality with the purchase of an 80-acre property and the arrival of two rescued cats and an abused German Shepherd dog that she saved from a New York City shelter the morning he was scheduled to be destroyed.

Incorporated in 2019, The Lily Pond Sanctuary received our 501(c)(3) designation at that time. The sanctuary acts as a safety net for the least adoptable animals, providing them with quality care and a forever home. We focus on senior, special needs, and disabled animals. We also offer hospice to animals diagnosed with a terminal illness.

The sanctuary is located in New York’s beautiful Hudson Valley

We have three ponds on the property, one of which is full of pink water lilies during the warmer months of the year. The name of the sanctuary was selected because of what the water lily – or lotus – represents. The seed starts at the muddy bottom of a pond and has to work its way up through the dark waters until it reaches the surface and then blossoms. This journey out of the darkness and into the light is why the lotus is so revered in Eastern philosophical traditions as a metaphor for enlightenment. We also consider the water lily to be a beautiful symbol of the healing journey.

Our mission is to bring people, animals and nature together in healing partnership

We’ve witnessed people help heal animals; animals help heal people; and the healing effects of nature on everyone. Many of the animals who arrive at the sanctuary are in need of healing, but also possess their own special healing gifts to offer the world. We seek to cultivate that connection and the recognition that ultimately, we are all one.

Board of Directors

Susan Bandy, Founder & President
Lorie Trotter, Treasurer
Stephanie Stanton, Secretary
Carla Avila, Member


Brenda Izzo, Barn Manager
Morgan Izzo, Animal Caregiver