Tazi Phillips, Global Animal

Last Wednesday, Christine Spain, the mother of Boston police officer David Lanteigne, fell unconscious on train tracks in Shirley, MA. The engineer of a westward-bound freight train witnessed Lilly, a pit bull, frantically trying to pull the woman off the tracks as the train quickly approached. 

Dr. Kiko Bracker of Angell Animal Medical Center tends to Lilly before her right front leg is amputated. Photo credit: Angell Animal Medical Center

Emergency responders arrived to the scene to find Lilly calmly standing guard over Christine. Lilly’s human companion was not injured, but the 8-year-old dog was not as fortunate. A Shirley animal control officer immediately drove Lilly to an emergency animal hospital where officer Lanteigne recovered her and rushed to Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston.

Lilly suffered severe trauma, fracturing her pelvis in multiple locations, facing internal injuries and having her front right leg later removed due to a serious injury from the train’s wheel. 

Lilly the pit bull was rescued by Lanteigne 3 years ago as a companion for his mother who suffers from alcoholism. “We saved her life, and she saved my mom’s life.” 

At a time when pit bulls are misunderstood and stereotyped as aggressive, Lilly stands as a testament to the loyalty, bravery and unconditional love of these amazing dogs. “Lilly’s story has moved us all beyond measure. I hope her actions will underscore the truth about Pit Bulls—that they are amazing animals and are as devoted to their family as any other dog,” said Jean Weber, the MSPCA’s director of animal protection. 

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45 COMMENTS

  1. Arianna Blankenship I think my reply in the thread below about covers it. But I'll add that I realize addiction isn't overcome over night, but it CAN be overcome. But a person needs to CHOOSE to want to and have the strength and willpower to change. I don't know the specific circumstances, but if she was drunk when she left the house, she shouldn't have taken her dog with her. If she wasn't, since she had her dog with her, she shouldn't have gotten strinking, falling down drunk, if for nothing else for the love of her dog and her desire to be responsible enough to properly care for and protect her. It's her job to protect that animal. She shouldn't have been walking on/near the tracks while drunk. The other 2 charges on her, on top of animal abuse, are obstruction and walking on a railroad track. All 3 of those charges are well deserved. Again, I don't wish her ill will, I hope she finds the strength to change her life…but it doesn't mean I have sympathy for her in regards to this, and, again ( /broken record), I just want to see her held accountable for her actions.

  2. Arianna Blankenship Lol, first of all did I wish death or disease on her? Did I wish for her addiction to destroy her? I simply want her held accountable for her mistakes. As William said in the thread above this, had it been a child rather than a dog she'd be facing homicidal charges. Man slaughter? I won't claim to be an expert, or even terribly knowledgeable of which is which. Well, assuming it died, and if not, she'd be brought up on negligence or child abuse. Had it been a child she'd have a lynch mob crying for consequences.

    Secondly, you have no idea what I know of depression and difficult times. I've been through/going through things that most people will never experience in their entire lives. Do I let it destroy the people around me? Hell no. Would I ever, EVER make choices that would endanger my dog? Again, hell no, I'd take a bullet for my dog. He's loyal, intelligent, protective, sweet and I would do my best to stay out of harms way when with him just to ensure he didn't try anything like Lily did.

    I'm sorry, as Beth said in the above thread, but I have no patience for alcoholism. I've known too many strong people who've had to overcome painfully difficult (both emotionally and physically) circumstances that they had no choice in. She chose the path she's on. She's just not a strong enough person to make the decisions and choices she needed to and now someone she loved nearly paid the ultimate price.

    Look down on me if you will, I won't be cowed into changing my opinion. Of course I"m sure she's ashamed and remorseful and guilt ridden. I'm sure she loves that dog very much…all the more reason to try her hardest to change. I simply want to see her held accountable for her bad (and illegal) choices.

    If you want to keep telling me I know nothing of depression and struggle, contact me in private and I'd be happy to enlighten you, but it's not something I care to post publicly.

  3. Beth Fridinger Well you're a nice person. Alcoholism is an addiction, practically a mental disorder. The owner was in fact, trying to recover (Lilly was her therapy animal). She's not going to change overnight. It's a long hard journey to recovery. I'm sure this incident will just improver her, maybe get her to stop altogether. I feel bad for sweet little Lilly, but I am disgusted by all the rude comments about the owner. Yes she is alcoholic. Yes she feels EXTREMELY guilty over this incident.
    You should NEVER shame ANYONE for having an addiction.

  4. The owner is grateful. In fact, the owner is pretty much mentally scarred by this. The one creature who didn't judge her or looked down on her for having alcohol issues, was severely hurt trying to save her. Do you think she's just sitting at home, drinking a beer, not even thinking about her dog? That woman is probably ready to kill herself, she's drowning in guilt.

  5. Yes you are very insensitive. Just because she is an alcoholic doesn't mean that she is some heartless bitch. Of course it is absolutely terrible that Lilly was gravely injured, but she would gladly do it again to save her owner. She's a pit bull. Shaming someone for being alcoholic is disgusting. They need help, not criticism. One can't simply "put the bottle down". She's going to need a lot more than that.
    I have had depression for 4 years now, on medication for 2. Do you think that I can just simply "get over it"? You can't think your way out of depression. Thinking happy thoughts doesn't make my pain go away. Simply not drinking isn't going to fix alcoholism. Do you even understand how addictions work?

  6. I am impressed that this beautiful dog did this. I can't stand alcoholism and have no patience with it, but my heart goes out to her son and her dog…I wonder if this incidence will in any way wake this woman up to do something about her problem. Alcoholism and drug addiction are terrible addictions, and it causes a lot of grief to the alcoholic's loved ones. Often the addicted person doesn't think they have a problem.

  7. Andrew Bugbee Sure does seem heartless to care more for the animal who acts on nothing but it's instincts than for the human who acts on their terrible choices. If it had been a drunk mother who had caused a horrific injury to their child, it would be criminal. This is no different. She ought to be grateful that her faithful companion was willing to make that sacrifice to save her life. Save the pity for the selfless hero, and the negative comments for the one who cause the problem.

  8. Crystal Smith Hear hear! I couldn't have said it better myself. I was thinking the same exact thing, that hopefully this opens her eyes and helps her clean up her act. The cost of his eye opener just kills me though.

    And Andrew Bugbee, disease my ass…that's an excuse. The woman knew she had a problem, "disease" or not, it's her own fault for not addressing it. When you have a disease, you seek treatment and try to remedy the issue. She's selfish, plain and simple. And she may love Lily, but look what her "disease" did to someone she loves. She made a tragic mistake, and naturally, the drunkard walks away from the accident while someone innocent suffers. There's just no excuse for what she's put that sweet dog through.