What can be better than a heartwarming story highlighting the deep bond and true love of best friends? In a story that’s sure to warm the cockles of your heart and bring a tear to your eye, two missing dogs and close friends have been found, and all thanks to the undying love and devotion of a best friend who refused to give up, even in the face of great adversity and fear.

After missing for almost a week, VIPP volunteers were starting to lose hope that they would every find Phoebe and Tillie, two very sweet and beloved local dogs. The pair hadn’t been spotted in some time, and no one could fathom where they could have disappeared to. Extensive searches had not provided any clues, and volunteers didn’t know where else to look. It seemed as though every stone had already been overturned and every corner of the area had been thoroughly examined, but as soon as hope started to wane, a glimmer of it returned in one short phone call.

The phone rang and a volunteer answered. A community member and good Samaritan called in to say that a dog had been spotted. While the dog was only seen for a few brief moments at a time, the forlorn pup was said to be “reddish” in color, which sounded vaguely like the missing Tillie. According to the caller, the dog would come up to the property owners for a few quick seconds and then take off in the direction of a ravine located next to Monument Road. After several days of the dog showing up and repeating the exact same behavior, the homeowner thought that something might be amiss and decided to make a call in to the volunteers.

Shortly after receiving the phone call, we all took off in the direction of the ravine, unsure as to what we would find. Would we find one dog alive, would they both have succumbed to starvation and the elements by this point, or would we witness the miracle we truly wanted to see? The questions streamed through our heads as we walked toward the area where the dog was reported to have been seen. We searched and called out the names of the pups, hoping against hope that we would receive a woof or whine in return.

“Tillie!!”, we called, waiting and hoping against hope for a response. The volunteers continued to call and to stand in silence to see if a dog would appear or a sound would echo across the ravine. As if by magic, we finally heard a small “woof”. Just a single sound, but it was enough to know that Tillie was nearby and, more importantly, alive. We followed the sound and soon found her. She was laying next to a cistern, her head laying on the concrete at the side of the old reservoir. Our hearts dropped. If she was standing guard over this cistern, that could only mean one thing: that poor, sweet Phoebe was inside.

We approached, our hearts beating rapidly. We quickly said a prayer for Phoebe, that she would miraculously be ok. We approached the edge of the cistern, and peered inside, crossing every finger and toe in our possession. And there she was, scared but alive. It appeared that she had fallen inside the cistern, but had managed to perch on top of some rubble inside, keeping her outside of the water and preventing her from drowning. We couldn’t believe it. After days of searching, we had finally found both dogs and, thankfully, they would recover.

There’s no doubt that dogs are man’s best friend, not to mention each other’s as well. Tillie had refused to leave poor Phoebe’s side except to run off for a few short minutes each and every day to ask the neighbors for help in rescuing her friend. It was her persistence, her love, and her dedication that not only led to the eventual discovery of both her and Phoebe, but also to the saving of Phoebe’s life. We can learn so much from animals, from their selflessness and their perseverance even in the face of difficult odds and danger. Tillie truly showed herself to be a hero. As humans, we should take this to heart as a truly humbling and beautiful act of love.

Along with dear Tillie, we want to extend an enormous “thank you” to Joe Curiel, the property owner who was first approached by this “reddish” dog. He had the presence of mind to notice that something was wrong and to give the volunteers a call that fateful day. Without him, this happy story could easily have had a different outcome, and we could not be more grateful for his contributions in the saving of these two very special dogs.

Author: Jenny Mathews

Not only am I a fourth generation Vashonite, but I am very involved with the community by managing the Vashonites Facebook group, the Vashon-Maury.com Facebook page, this website, posting articles and keeping the community engaged in a fun safe environment. I have a background in online marketing having worked for major corporations managing their natural search (getting websites to show up on Google), paid search advertising, social media, and analytics to track usage and encourage proper engagement. In my spare time I enjoy riding my horse (Moe) on Vashon, kayaking, hiking, biking around the Island and visiting the art community when I can.