An Irish setter named Tillie was being credited Friday with helping to save the life of a trapped basset hound named Phoebe after spending nearly a week by her friend’s side near a cistern in Vashon, Washington.
Volunteers with the Vashon Island Pet Protectors shelter had been helping to search for the two missing dogs when they received a tip from a local man who reported that for the past few days he had spotted a “reddish” dog on his property, according to a post on the shelter’s Facebook page.
Joe Curiel told the volunteers that the dog would initially approach him and then dart back into a ravine on the property.
“So, with a needle in the haystack hope, we made our way into the ravine and after a bit of searching, finally heard that sweet sound we have been waiting for all week,” the post stated.
What the volunteers heard was a faint bark when they called out for Tillie.
They finally found Tillie laying beside an old cistern “with her head resting on the concrete wall,” according to the post.
The volunteers believed Phoebe was inside the cistern and feared she might have drowned.
“Heart sinking … we knew that meant Phoebe was inside the cistern and every breath was held and every doggie prayer offered that the peek over the rim would somehow find her safe,” the post continued.
And, when they did look over the rim, they found the basset hound safely perched on pieces of concrete rubble that had kept her above the waterline.
“For nearly a week Tillie stayed by her side with the exception of the few minutes of each day when she went for help,” the post stated.
The post described Tillie as “a true friend and a humbling example of the power of love.”