Man’s best friend is fiercely loyal to his canine friends, too

By Kelli Bender
Updated September 28, 2015 07:25 PM

Man’s best friend is just as loyal to their canine companions.

A setter named Tillie stayed beside her trapped best friend, Phoebe the Basset hound, for an entire week until both the animals were found by rescuers, reports WZZM 13.

Just over a week ago, Washington’s Vashon Island Pet Protectors reported that the pets were missing, posting photos to Facebook in hopes a local would spot the dogs. VIPP also sent out volunteers to search for Tillie and Phoebe, but the helpers were having no luck. Then, on Monday, the animal rescue organization received a call from a Vashon Island resident, who said that for several days a dog who looked like Tillie had been approaching them on their property and then quickly turning back toward a ravine behind the house.

VIPP sent out volunteers to the area to search the ravine, concerned the tip would lead to another dead end. After several minutes of looking and calling Tillie’s name, the group heard a responsive “woof.” Moments later, the volunteers found Tillie lying beside an old cistern, her head peeking over the edge.

“They knew that meant Phoebe was inside the cistern, and every breath was held and every doggy prayer offered that the peek over the rim would somehow find her safe,” VIPP Amy Carey told WZZM 13. “And it was a time we have a happy ending with dear Phoebe found perched on some concrete rubble that held her out of the water.”

“For nearly a week, Tillie stayed by her side with the exception of the few minutes of each day when she went for help.”


Vashon Island Pet Protectors

After a week stuck in the elements, Tillie and Phoebe were cold, tired and hungry, but thanks to the setter’s devotion to her friend, Tillie and Phoebe are both expected to fully recover.

Carey hopes this story of canine heroism and compassion shows others just how human dogs can be, and she encourages owners missing pets to hold out hope themselves because “it is so important for happy endings for missing pets — or even for unhappy endings with closure.”

“My message to most people with missing dogs is that unless the dog is being seen periodically, it is likely stuck somewhere, and that when stuck, even the most loyal and people-oriented dogs won’t make a sound — even to an owner calling from a few feet away,” she continued. “That’s where the amazing Miss Tillie steps in as the heroine of this story. Not sure Phoebe would have ever been found without her as they were miles from the last place spotted.”