We have very sad news.

Our longest resident foster dog, Lily, who came to us in 2011, passed away last Friday from hemangiosarcoma, in the arms of her foster mom and dad, and with foster siblings Sammy and Elfie at her side.

Lily was a good, good, good girl. Rescued from a high-kill shelter in KY, she joined the CDR foster care program when she was just 4 months old. She arrived to us with one of her ears half cut-off and with a fractured pelvis. And a fear of children of a certain height, and short, heavyset blonde women. Clearly, she had suffered something traumatic in her first months.

But such a spirit she had! A pup who was more filled with love and humor, good nature and joy, you could not have found! Lily was all about fun-fun-fun, and kisses-kisses-kisses. 😊

But that pelvis fracture that she arrived with….that turned out to be problematic. Our vets eventually figured out that it had caused nerve damage that left her with total urinary incontinence. Cornell Vet School and our local veterinarians tried every medication and medical procedure available–all without success. Her incontinence was unfixable, but otherwise, she was in perfect health. And was the sweetest, friendliest, silliest dog around. So we set about to find her a foster home that could provide her with the care she needed, and hoped that her perfect adoptive home was out there somewhere.

After a few not-quite-right foster placements, she found that ideal foster home. And people applied to adopt her, quite often in those first years. But each time when they learned that she had to be in diapers and that those diapers needed to be changed every 2 hours to minimize urinary tract infections, they would apologetically withdraw their application. It was understandable. Lily was an incredibly wonderful girl, but there are so many incredibly wonderful dogs out there needing homes, and most don’t have her medical limitations. So she remained unchosen for adoption, year after year after year after year.

But CDR, and Lily’s foster family, never gave up on her. Her foster parents loved and cared for her every day of her 12 years. They were joyful years–she loved every person she met and made friends with all of the foster dogs that came through her foster home. And they were fun, laughter-filled years–she loved to play silly games like “I can kiss your nose faster than you can kiss mine!” and she delighted in the “morning Lily Bear songs” that her foster dad made up and sang to her each morning during their daily morning snuggle sessions. And they were sweet years because…well, she just had a very, very sweet heart.

For her foster parents, they were also years of loving sacrifice, as her care required them to stagger their work schedules to accommodate her every-few-hours needed diaper changes and they were rarely able to vacation together because kennels can’t provide the round-the-clock incontinence care that she required and friends/dogsitters were only very occasionally able to help out. But they were happy to do it, they loved her, they were glad that they could give such a sweet soul the loving home that she needed and so very much deserved.

Lily never knew that she was unchosen. Or that her medical issues required effort to care for. All she knew was that she had a loving family for her whole life, terrific doggy siblings, a super fun fenced yard (where she barked at deer with MUCH gusto!), daily leashed trail walks which she thought were THE BEST, and magical bedding that got clean and fresh-smelling by bedtime each night!

We send deep thanks to her foster parents, for all of their love and care. And deep thanks to all of you who donated money to CDR over the years, because some of your generosity no doubt helped to support Lily. Helped to give this sweet, sweet, girl, a whole big, beautiful life. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Urgent help needed!
May 30,2023 – Wonderful, dog-loving community…the pups of Cayuga Dog Rescue really need your help. READ MORE

Quick Facts:

  • Breed: Border Collie mix
  • Gender: Female, Spayed
  • Age: 12 year old
  • Size: 45lbs
  • Good with…
  • Dogs? Yes
  • Cats? No
  • Children? No

Hi! My name is Lilly (aka Lily Bear, Little Bear, and Cutie Pants), and I am ridiculously adorable, sweet, loving, and very smart!


I was rescued from an overcrowded KY shelter when I was only 4 months old and have been here in foster care with CDR ever since. When I was first rescued by CDR, their nice vets found that I had a previously fractured pelvis (consistent with being kicked, hard) and one of my ears appears to have been ½-cut off with scissors. Clearly, my first few months of life were rough, but you’d never know it, as I am the happiest, sweetest, most adoring and adorable girl around!


I am a super friendly, happy, playful and affectionate girl! Everyone always says how much they love me and how sweet I am. I love attention of all sorts…I love being petted and cuddled, having my belly rubbed, giving and getting kisses, and playing all sorts of games! My tail goes “swish-swish-swish” when you look at me or come over to hang out with me and I’m very responsive to any type of affection you give me…if you kiss and pet and cuddle me, I don’t just lay there and soak it in, I kiss and cuddle and pet you back!

I am also smart! I have graduated (with flying colors) 2 basic obedience classes and also did well at agility! I am terrific at “sit, down, wait, high-five, back-back-back, touch, and watch!” I love learning and am very eager to please you (and get treats!).

I can be a little bit nervous with strangers (especially if they are staring at me!) until I have had a chance to get to know them a bit. When I was younger, I was terrified of kids (in the age range of 4-10 years old) and also of short, heavyset blonde women–I used to bark at them frantically and genuinely seemed utterly terrified. The rescue folks think that maybe it was a short, heavyset blonde woman and her kids who cut off my ear and kicked me hard enough to break my pelvis. As I got older, I seemed to do better with children, but I had 2 very weird incidents (1 involving a child) that might indicate that I still can get very stressed around kids. I can tell you about those incidents if you want to learn more about me!

Favorite Activities

I love chasing, pouncing on, and playing with my rope toys and my stuffed animals and I have lots of fun playing tug of war with my foster parents. I am fantastic at “fetch” and love fetching toys, balls, sticks, and really just about anything you are willing to throw. If you get distracted, I sweetly nudge you with the item to remind you that it’s time to throw it again! And while I love interacting with you, if you’re busy, I can entertain myself. I find a toy and throw it up in the air, or I run around the yard discovering sticks to play with (and then prancing around with them proudly hanging out of my mouth). I’m also happy to nap! My foster parents say I do about a zillion things that make them laugh!
I love going for walks on leash and love hikes on trail. I occasionally go jogging with my foster mom, and like a couple of miles, but don’t seem interested in going much farther. I walk well in a Sense-ible harness (but do pull a bunch without one).


I get along great with other dogs (big & small). I live with 5 other dogs at present, and I love playing chase, am great at doggy wrestling, and I can adapt my play style for “rough and tumble” playmates, and also for more gentle play styles. I have gone to doggy daycare quite a lot, and everyone says I am terrific with all the people and the dogs! I do have a few slightly irritating (to the home dogs) habits, like I think I need to “round the other dogs up” when we all run out into the fenced yard, but it’s not too bad and my foster mom is helping me to learn that it’s not my job to do this, and that actually the other dogs prefer it if I mind my business! I bark quite strongly at other dogs who I don’t know when I see them out on leashed walks, but am great when I actually get to meet them.

Medical Concerns/Special Needs

I am super healthy but do have one chronic medical condition and probably will for life. The vets were never able to figure out with certainty why (though some think it might be nerve damage from my early pelvic fracture), but I have had a significant problem with urinary incontinence since I arrived (it’s much better now…keep reading!). Aside from the housekeeping inconvenience of a dog who leaks urine, this was a serious medical concern because my leaking caused me to have nearly constant urinary tract infections, which over time, could lead to grave or even life-threatening medical conditions. After over a year of diagnostic evaluation at Cornell and trials on many medications, I finally got a surgery that improved things significantly! I do still leak (thus my adorable diapers and nickname “cutie pants,”) but since the surgery, and in conjunction with some daily medication, the leaking is much, much less than it was before and is easily managed by my wearing doggy diapers. The other good news is that my UTI’s are now being successfully controlled by me taking a low dose of antibiotics nightly, and we are all hopeful that this will continue!


I am an all-around incredibly fabulous dog! I am very smart, learn things super quickly, and am incredibly fun-loving and affectionate. I’m all about play and affection and loving life and everyone in it! I know I am a slightly special needs girl due to my diapers, but I am so wonderful, and for the right person (who doesn’t mind a little extra care-taking), I will be your super beloved, soul-mate dog!
If you are interested in me, please read about the adoption process today and live EITHER within 30 minutes of Ithaca OR very close to Syracuse, Binghamton, or Owego. We do home visits on every applicant, and can’t do home visits where we don’t have local volunteers.

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