NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — "She had been through severe thunderstorms and she never budged, so we thought she'd be okay, but we learned our lesson," said Ruth Allen and Albert Fields.
The past nine days has been emotional for Lackawanna residents Ruth Allen and Albert Fields, after being separated from their dog, Lilly. The couple were reunited with their furry friend Friday. The seven-month-old border collie/terrier/pointer mix broke from her leash on July 4th after the fireworks started while the family was visiting Niagara Falls State Park.
"She was laying down and then all of a sudden there was a boom and she just bolted like a bullet, and he went running after, and I hurried up, and reported to a cop that she took off," said Allen and Fields.
They say they spent the night in the parking lot searching for Lilly to no avail. But Friday, Lilly was spotted on Little Brother Island, downstream from Three Sisters Island by a Rochester veterinarian who was visiting with family.
New York State Park Police rescued the dog from the rapids and brought her to the main land with assistance from the Niagara County SPCA.
"They had to coax this dog. It was so scared that it took them probably an hour and a half to gain its trust to get him just to let them touch it before they could actually handle them," said Niagara County SPCA Animal Control Officer Gary Burkett.
Lilly’s owners say she’s an avid swimmer and loves to play in the water, but the water made it difficult for rescuers. Burkett says he is amazed that Lilly even got to the island.
“She had a lot of stamina to make it through that water to get up on that bank because every side, I mean, is just very turbulent, deep, very dangerous situation," said Burkett.
It’s a relief to have Lilly back, according to her owners, especially since they had lost hope of finding her. They won’t be attending any fireworks displays with Lily in the near future and plan to keep things quiet for a dog who endured so much.
"Let her calm down. Get her some food, she got a little bit thin and just let her chill out and relax. She’s been through a lot," they said.
The Niagara County SPCA took care of Lilly before she was reunited with her owners. It was a reunion for them as well since she was adopted from the shelter three-and-a-half weeks before she went missing.