Local Ithaca group saves over 500 dogs from euthanization


After taking one glance at the wagging tail and permanently happy face, you never would have guessed that Bart, the fluffy golden-brown Pekingese, was once a homeless and abused dog in Tennessee about to be euthanized at a local dog shelter.

Bart is just one of the over 500 dogs that the local organization, Cayuga Dog Rescue has helped save.

Cayuga Dog Rescue was founded in 2005 by Susan Wiser, a dog enthusiast on a mission to improve the lives of abandoned dogs and find them a safe and happy home with residences in and around the Ithaca and Syracuse areas.

“We started Cayuga Dog Rescue back in 2005 to fill a need. There are a phenomenal amount of dogs who get euthanized every year simply because of overcrowding in shelters,” said Wiser.

Cayuga Dog Rescue relies on a group of dedicated volunteers to ensure that all dogs find safe and healthy homes.

“The process of finding and rescuing these dogs is fairly simple”, said Megan Adams, a volunteer who has been working with Cayuga Dog Rescue since last October.

“The hard part is training and convincing these dogs that they are now in a safe environment,” said Adams.

Wiser has a contact in Tennessee and Kentucky who rescues these dogs from high kill shelters and takes care of them until Wiser herself can either go pick up the dogs or arrange for them to be driven up to Ithaca.

Wiser also takes in local homeless dogs from the streets, or any dogs that the shelters in Ithaca do not have space for.

After the dogs arrive in Ithaca, the volunteers of Cayuga Dog Rescue take in these abused dogs, feed them, provide medical care, properly train them and work on any fears that they may have had in their previous life so they are ready for a family environment.

“Once the dogs receive all of the best care and love that we can give them we start looking for homes for them,” said Adams.

Judy Veley adopted her pup Sandy, an abandoned mutt found in Tennessee, at the end of February.

“Our previous dog had recently passed away and we weren’t looking for a new pet just yet. But one day I was checking out the Cayuga Dog Rescue website and stumbled upon a picture of Sandy,” said Veley. “I didn’t know if my partner or I were ready for a new member of the family just yet, but we had to give it a shot after seeing her picture.”

Veley contacted Cayuga Dog Rescue about Sandy, and the interview process quickly began.

All potential adopters must go through a structured interview process with members of the organization. Once this process is complete the dogs are brought over to the potential home and introduced to their surroundings and any other animals occupying the house.

If both parties react positively then paperwork is set in place and soon a family is welcoming a happy and cuddly addition to their home.

“For dogs in high kill shelters we are saving their lives and providing them with forever-homes. For the local dogs that don’t have any place to go we are providing that for them so they don’t have to live on the streets,” said Wiser.

Cayuga Dog Rescue is expanding their organization and opening their doors to as many dogs as possible.

“To be able to take in and help nurse these dogs back to the state they were once in is a great transformation to be a part of,” said Adams.

For more information on Cayuga Dog Rescue and how to adopt, check out their website!

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