Press-Republican

Community News Network

July 25, 2013

Hikers mourn passing of Tillie, beloved mountain guide dog

BEREA, Ky. — For more than a decade, hikers of Kentucky’s Indian Fort Mountain were greeted by a very special guide. She would meet folks at the trailhead and accompany them throughout their hike, often making as many as 10 trips up and down the mountain each day.

"My name is Tillie. I am not a stray. I live next door. Let's go for a hike," the tag on her collar said.

Tillie, a 13-year-old border collie mix, died this week after a short illness, and the hundreds of hikers she guided took to social media to mourn her passing.

"Tillie of Indian Fort has left her tired, pain-filled old body behind," Tillie's human friends posted on her Facebook page Wednesday. "She was lying on cool green grass, surrounded by loving family and friends. Her passing was quiet and peaceful."

Ten years ago, Tillie found a home with Ron and Bhana Deaver, who live on the edge of the Berea College forest next to Indian Fort Theater, about 35 miles south of Lexington, Ky. That's when Tillie's career began as an unofficial guide dog.

Crystal Wylie, a reporter for the Richmond, Ky., Register, recalled a time when Tillie joined her and a friend on a hike to the top of the mountain's East Pinnacle. Wylie said it got dark and they lost track of the trail, so they decided to sleep on the mountain.

"When we awoke the next morning, Tillie was still there," Wylie wrote last month after word spread that Tillie was sick. "And from that moment, I knew Tillie was a very special dog."

In June, the Deavers announced Tillie had an invasive growth in the lining of her bladder. News of Tillie's condition spread fast, and hikers began hitting the trails to catch a glimpse of the famous dog. In the weeks following the announcement, Tillie continued to hike the trails with the help of a little pain medication.

People donated money to offset the dog's vet bills, and some fans are hoping to donate a statue or plaque to honor Tillie's legacy.

"Maybe we can hike again in another world, one day," one fan wrote on Tillie's Facebook page.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Who should pay for your kids ACT?

    Thirteen states paid for 11th-grade students in all public high schools to take the ACT college admission test this year, with several more planning to join them in 2015.

    August 20, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • Can 6 seconds launch a career? A generation of Vine stars sure hopes so.

    A year ago, Shawn Mendes filmed himself singing a tentative acoustic cover of the Justin Bieber song "As Long as You Love Me" and put the results on Vine. He wasn't expecting much response. "I didn't really want anything to happen; I just kind of wanted to see what people would think," says Mendes, 16. "I posted that first Vine and woke up the next morning with 10,000 followers. That was pretty cool."

    August 14, 2014

  • Freshman.jpg 8 crucial tips for college freshmen

    With school starting back up around the country, no one has a bigger deer-in-the-headlights look than college freshmen.

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • A night in Ferguson

    For the past week in Ferguson, reporters have been using the McDonald's a few blocks from the scene of Michael Brown's shooting as a staging area. Demonstrations have blown up each night nearby.

    August 14, 2014