BEREA — One of my first memories on the Indian Fort Mountain trails was as a young Girl Scout.
My sweet mother, who had no business leading a group of girls to the East or West Pinnacle, got us lost in the Berea College Forest on the way back down.
I recalled that childhood memory years later during college as I made my way back up the trails behind the sure-footed paws of a scruffy collie mix named Tillie. This dog would have been a big help to my mom, I thought.
That night, Tillie led my friend and me to the top of the East Pinnacle where we enjoyed a picnic and watched the sun sink lower in the sky. Before we knew it, it was too dark to see the trail and we made the decision to sleep under the stars (However, camping is not allowed on the Pinnacles. We were being young and stupid; so don’t do that).
When we awoke the next morning, Tillie was still there. And from that moment, I knew Tillie was a very special dog.
Ten years ago, Tillie found a home with Ron and Bhana Deaver, who reside on the edge of the forest. Tillie has been the unofficial Pinnacle guide dog ever since.
“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.
On June 6, the following was posted to Tillie's Facebook page: “Dear human friends. The news is not good news. Dr. Walls determined that the growth is too invasive to be removed, encompasses too much of the lining of the bladder.”
The status update was shared by Tillie’s 1,086 Facebook followers more than 125 times and received 80 comments from well-wishers. People also anonymously donated funds to offset the cost of the 13-year-old’s vet bills.