Last week, an 8-year-old pit bull named Lilly pulled her unconscious owner away from an oncoming freight train.
Christine Spain, 54, was walking home from her boyfriend's place with her dog just after midnight on May 3rd when she collapsed onto the train tracks in Shirley, Massachusetts.
ABC News reports that Lilly came to Spain's rescue, using her teeth to pull the woman to safety. Lilly saved the woman, but barely saved herself.
Spain suffered no injuries. Lilly, who was rushed to a nearby emergency animal hospital, fractured her pelvis and lost a leg in the ordeal.
"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," Boston Police Officer David Lanteigne, Spain's son, told ABC News.
Lanteigne rushed to the animal hospital to meet the injured dog. "I saw her tail wagging the first time right there."
Lanteigne rescued Lilly from a shelter three years ago, giving the dog to his mother as "a therapy dog," hoping Lilly would help Spain in her battle with alcoholism, depression and anxiety. With a pet to care for, Spain's drinking began to decrease.
"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. Staff at the Angell Animal Medical Center expect that she'll walk again.
Spain, who relapsed shortly before the incident, was arrested on charges of obstruction and danger on a railroad track.
Lilly was released from the hospital on Saturday. Lanteigne says that his mother and her dog will be staying with him in Boston.
"My mom's not doing so well, and she's hanging in there," Lanteigne told the Lowell Sun.
"She's been with me and helping out with this, getting things ready at home. She's emotionally, severely scarred from this. She's hanging on. If it wasn't for her dog, I don't think my mom would be here today. This dog has kept her sober."
Lilly's care and physical therapy will cost Spain and Lanteigne thousands of dollars. As news of Lilly's heroism spread, good Samaritans across the country started donating money to cover the expenses. Last Wednesday, Rob Halpin, spokesman with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told the Sentinel & Enterprise that almost $40,000 had already been donated, more than enough to cover Lilly's care.
This morning, KDFW reported that donations have reached $76,000.
Donations that exceed Lilly's medical costs will be rolled over into a general fund used to provide assistance to homeless animals and those in need of treatment.