Tilly the pint-sized wonder may have a brain condition, but she’s not letting that stop her from living her best life—including making new feline friends!

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Teensy Tilly's grand adventure begins when the Winchester SPCA in Winchester, Va. rescued a pregnant scruffy street dog, who gave birth to 11 puppies in January! Lil' Momma, as the staff called her, was a small dog, and required extra vet assistance to manage a difficult delivery. She also couldn't adequately care for all of her offspring, especially one who was too wobbly due to an oversized head and unable to keep up with the rest of the pack. Unfortunately, as what sometimes happens in the animal world, Lil' Momma rejected our wee girl, Tilly the Strawberry.

Tilly wearing her helmet with cat ears
Credit: Courtesy of The CAT LVT / Facebook

To determine what her medical condition might be, the Winchester SPCA transferred her to the Animal Rescue League of Arlington so she could get Johns Hopkins' level care, according to the organization's Facebook post. A kind foster parent took Tilly in to provide extra care in the interim, and the sweet pup was extremely grateful!

Tilly was later diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a neurological disorder resulting from excess cerebrospinal fluid within the cranium, resulting in brain swelling. Often referred to as 'water on the brain', VCA Hospitals indicates that toy, miniature, and small breed dogs seem to be more affected by it. While the disorder can't be cured, it's often managed with surgery and other specialized care. In the meantime, Tilly's itty bitty noggin needed protection until she was old enough to handle the next phase of medical treatment. 

So, Tilly's adventure continued with The Cat LVT, a feline medical clinic headed by Ellen Carozza. LVT. Dedicated to helping at-risk pets with complicated medical conditions, Carozza received donations to help provide more comprehensive care for this adorable pooch, and access to resources such as Bionic Pets, which crafted an adjustable helmet to help prevent injury to Tilly's brain. To make it easier for this weensy pup to fit in with all her new feline friends at the cat clinic—known as #teamscratchndent—the helmet was customized with special cat ears.

Yep, you read that right. Cat ears. The cute! It's too much!

Now outfitted for action, Tilly went to a different foster home in early March to get bigger and stronger. Fortunately, her new kitty bestie there is Eggbert, an exceedingly patient ball of fluff who completely understands what her pup pal is going through, as she doesn't have the use of her back legs. Their lives are obviously better together!

Carozza said on Instagram that Tilly has a lot more growing to do, so surgery isn't an option right now. But her condition was diagnosed early enough that she's on medication, and her medical team will wait just a few more months before revising a treatment plan.

So many passionate animal care advocates from various organizations unified to give Tilly the best chance possible. Now all this lil' survivor has to focus on is typical pup life: eating, playing, napping with Eggbert, and posing a simply adorable threat to other super cute puppies on social media! Go Tilly!