########Update: October 16, 2015
Washington governor Jay Inslee awarded Tillie, the “Washingtonian of the Day” award after the Setter-Spaniel faithfully guarded Phoebe, a Basset Hound who had fallen into a cistern, for a full week.
Governor Inslee has awarded “Washingtonian of the Day” awards as a way to recognize individuals who have inspired him. There have been about 70 other recipients since Inslee took office in January, 2013, but Tillie is the first non-human.
Inslee told CBS news:
“I saw this story and I just immediately said this is something Washington needs to celebrate. I grew up with Rin Tin Tin and Lassie and I never thought I’d meet a real dog that had that type of Hollywood character, but Tillie’s right here.”
And she was! Tillie sat right beside the Governor during yesterday’s ceremony. She was accompanied by her owner, BJ Duft, and of course, her Basset Bestie, Phoebe. Tillie was presented with a Washington apple pin on a ribbon tied around her neck, as Inslee read a written proclamation asking, “everyone in Washington to celebrate the bravery and loyalty of this canine companion.”
Two dogs, Tillie, a Setter, and Phoebe, a Basset Hound, had been missing from their home for two weeks. Vashon Island Pet Protectors (VIPP) had been searching for the two and were beginning to lose hope that they would find the pair.
Then, they got a call from someone reporting a “reddish” dog repeatedly coming up to them and then running back into a nearby ravine. That reddish pup was Tille and once VIPP volunteers were on the scene, she let out a woof that led them straight to her.
They found her lying on her side by a cistern. Volunteers knew this was an indication that Phoebe was stuck inside of it. The trapped pup was perched on concrete rubble so that she could keep herself out of the water.
Based on the reports of Tillie coming up to local residents, rescuers believe that she remained by Phoebe’s side for an entire week, only leaving to search for help. The dogs were miles from the last place they were spotted and in an area the rescuers would have never thought to look. Odds are that no one would have found the two if Tillie hadn’t protected her fellow pup and sought out help.
High paws, Tillie! Your love and loyalty saved the day!