Lilly, the Pit Bull Hero
An 8-year-old pit bull named Lilly saved the life of her owner, but was severely injured by an approaching train. Lilly had been rescued by a police officer years to be a companion for his mother. When her owner collapsed on the railroad tracks just before midnight, Lilly pulled her out of harm’s way, then stood between her and the train.
The owner, 54, Christine Spain was unhurt, but Lilly had to have her front leg amputated and was also treated for a fractured pelvis, among other minor injuries.
An animal control officer rushed Lilly to an emergency animal hospital in nearby Acton, where Spain’s son, Boston Police Officer David Lanteigne, met them in the parking lot. “The first thing I see is just those big, beautiful eyes just looking at me, and next to her, I saw her right front paw was severely damaged,” he told ABC News. “I saw her tail wagging the first time right there.”
Lanteigne said he rescued Lilly three years ago, thinking she’d make a good therapy dog for Spain, who had battled alcoholism, depression and anxiety for many years. He said Spain doted on the dog, and often defrosted packets of green beans to cut them up and put them in Lilly’s food. Eventually, he said, Spain’s drinking decreased.
“We saved Lilly, and Lilly saved my mom’s life,” he said. “My hope is that this story is going to get out and show what pit bulls are truly about. I hope by Lilly going through this, it’s going to get other dogs homes.”
Lilly underwent two surgeries last weekend at the Angell Animal Medical Center. Steel plates were implanted to repair her fractured pelvis and support her left leg. She now has a long scar where her right front leg was amputated.
Angell spokesman Rob Halpin said Lilly’s doctors expect she’ll be able to walk again, but adjusting to three legs will be hard for the senior dog.
Meg Whalen, one of Lilly’s doctors, said the pit bull’s rescue “captured the hearts” of the staff.
“She’s got the character and spirit that sometimes trumps all our medical advances when it comes to recovery,” Whalen said.
“I think she’s got what it takes to get back to her former self.”
On Wednesday, Lilly tried to stand up when Lanteigne came by to visit, but her hind legs won’t be able to bear weight for the next few weeks.
Lanteigne said the accident had been hard on his mother, but she has been helping him get ready for Lilly’s homecoming by sterilizing the apartment and bringing over all of Lilly’s favorite toys.
“Lilly’s been her heart and soul,” Lanteigne said of his mother’s relationship with the dog. “Thank God Lilly was there.”
Angell Animal Hospital raised over $76,000 with Lilly’s story but anything above the cost of her care, estimated to be approx. $15,000 will go to a special fund to assist with animals like Lilly, as opposed to the family’s fundraiser where 100% will go towards the care of Lilly. If there are donations left over they will be donated to area animal/rescue shelters, adoption clinics etc.
A personal note from David R. Lenteign:
Thanks to the generous donations from people around the world Lilly’s entire hospital bill as well as all of the physical therapy she will need in the future is covered. My family is eternally grateful.
I will never forget Lilly’s brave sacrifice and her action has spurred me to advocate on behalf of Pit Bulls to begin chipping away at the myth that these dogs are inherently violent. Lilly has shown the true nature of pit bulls and I want the world to know that hundreds and hundreds of pit bulls languish in animal shelters because people are too scared to adopt them.
I’ve started a fund that I hope will make a difference in the lives of these dogs. If you would like to make a donation in honor of Lilly I encourage you to do so now. 100 percent of the proceeds will be distributed to animal shelters in Massachusetts that take in and adopt out pit bulls.
David R. Lanteigne (Lilly’s dad)
Please send donations to-
“Lilly the Hero Dog Fund”
c/o Fidelity Bank
9 Leominster Connector
Leominster Ma. 01453
Thank you for your continuing support and your thoughts and prayers for Lilly throughout her recovery.
Contact – LillytheHeroPitbull@hotmail.com
Also if you’re interested in following Lilly’s continued progress please add this Facebook page for regular updates! Enjoy….http://www.facebook.com/LillyTheHeroPitBull