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UPDATED: Owner Rescued By Her Beloved Pit Bull Mix Passes Away

Dona Timoney, stricken in Double Trouble State Park almost two weeks ago, died Wednesday night, friend says

BERKELEY TOWNSHIP, NJ - It was a story that warmed many hearts around the country.

Dona Rae Timoney had rescued her pit bull mix "Lilly" from a North Carolina "drug house" last year. Owner and dog became extremely close.

Lilly returned the favor two weeks ago, after on a sugar sand path near the cranberry bogs in Double Trouble State Park.

The little dog ran up the path, her leash dragging behind her. Bayville resident Frank Delarosa found Lilly, picked her up and started towards the park office.

But Lilly squirmed and Delarosa put her down. She sped back down the path she had just come from and led him to Dona, who was unconscious.

Dona, 51, was first taken to Community Medical Center, then airlifted to St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. Many hoped and prayed for her recovery.

Sadly, Dona died Wednesday night, according to her friend Debbie McConnell, who posted the announcement on Berkeley Patch.

"It is with great sadness that I inform you Lilly's owner Dona has passed away last night," McConnell wrote in the comments section. "She will be greatly missed. Lilly will be staying in her own home with Dona's daughter."

The first story got more views than any other story in Patch history. We are so sorry we have to write this one. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dona's family.

Dona grew up in Pine Beach and moved to Beachwood 20 years ago. She was a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in Pine Beach for 25 years, according to her obituary on Legacy.com.

She is survived by her father, Gabriel Mistichelli, Whiting; her daughter Amanda Timoney, Beachwood; Jerremy Gilmore, Toms River; her brother David Mistichelli, Rutledge, PA; and her "best companions," Lilly, her dog, her cats Cooper and Lola, and her "grand kitty" Dobby.

Friends may visit from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Carmona-Bolen Home for Funerals at 412 Main Street in Toms River. A funeral service will be held at 8 p.m.

Mattie June 14, 2012 at 08:13 PM
How Sad... RIP Dona.
Dee Moscoso June 14, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Please accept and pass on my most sincere condolences on the loss of Dona. Lilly was a very lucky girl to have been found and loved by her mom and I am so happy to hear that Dona's daughter will continue to love and care for her. With my deepest sympathies Dee Moscoso
judith Noonan June 14, 2012 at 08:17 PM
This broke my heart ! I hope the right person will take Lilly.
. June 14, 2012 at 08:40 PM
My condolences to the family. Glad to hear they are keeping Lilly. She tried desperately to save the life of the person that saved her life, One special woman and one very special dog. Sad story.
Marcy June 14, 2012 at 08:44 PM
So sorry to hear that. Bless her and her family. And how great to hear that Lilly will be staying with Dona's daughter. Too many animals end up in shelters when a family member passes away and nobody else is willing to take their beloved pet. This sounds like a great family.
Jen June 14, 2012 at 08:49 PM
I am so sorry to hear that Dona passed away. My most heartfelt condolences to family and friends and Lilly. Its wonderful that she will remain in the home where she has known so much love. Jen
Miche June 14, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Judith - It says Lilly will be staying with Dona's daughter in her own home. :) RIP Dona, my condolences to the family.
WhyohWhy June 14, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Awwww... so sorry to hear the news... wish it could hav ebeen a happy ending. RIP Dona... you gave love and hope to a good friend.
barbara June 14, 2012 at 10:36 PM
So sad, RIP, condolences to the family. She sounded like a very special lady and Lilly is a very special dog. So sorry.
lacey voter June 14, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Such a sad ending to a heartwarming story..God bless and rip
Doris Cauda June 14, 2012 at 10:52 PM
What a sad ending for a wonderful woman too young to leave us. Her legacy of kindness was shown in the love her dog had for her. Rest in Peace Dona.
pbrTR June 15, 2012 at 12:35 AM
good dog
Patch thank you for sharing a beautiful story about the love of a breed of dog that often gets a bad rap. I only wish the national tv networks picked this up instead of displaying so many sad and horrible stories about this breed and its owners. May Dona rest in peace knowing how much Lilly loved and appreciated what she did for her.
i don't get it?? June 15, 2012 at 03:36 AM
So sorry to hear this update...such a sad end to such a heartfelt story. Please accept my condolences.
just me June 15, 2012 at 04:32 AM
Lilly tried her best .... lest we forget the good samaritan, Frank Delarosa, who's patience with Lilly lead him to Dona. Frank, you also did your best , God bless you. My heart goes out to the Timoney family.
Patricia A. Miller (Editor) June 15, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Thank you for your comments. Lilly's a good girl. I just wish this story had a different ending.
Fay June 15, 2012 at 05:59 AM
I am so sorry. I pray that God strengthens, comforts, and protect Dona's daughter and Lilly during this time of sorrow. In Jesus Name! Amen!
Debbie McConnell June 15, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Dona was an amazing woman who always put her animals before her no matter what. She had a heart of gold and a soft spot for not only her pets but others too. She raised her daughter Amanda to also be a strong and amazing woman and she was so proud of her. Lilly will be well taken care of by Amanda along with Dona's other pets. I will miss you my friend.
AUDREY FREDERIKSEN June 15, 2012 at 02:09 PM
very well said, i feel the same.
Jen June 15, 2012 at 07:23 PM
I am so affected and moved by this story. Thank you, Debbie McConnell for your thoughtful words. I wish I had known her too and Lilly who tried so hard to help her on that day.
Lewis Bond June 15, 2012 at 08:43 PM
This is very sad. Dona grew up with our kids in Pine Beach. Our schnauzer would watch for her to deliver the mail everyday. She always had a treat for him.
Karen Ann Campbell June 16, 2012 at 01:09 AM
RIP Dona and Bless Lily loyal and thankful for the life she gave her.
maureen price June 16, 2012 at 02:40 AM
I knew dona since elementary schhol at Pine Beach, and of course TRHSS. I had the opportunity to walk in Double Trouble State Park with Dona about 6 weeks ago. She had a heart full of love for Lilly. What a sad story. RIP Dona. Maureen (Parker) Price~
Raili Kokko June 19, 2012 at 02:43 PM
RIP Dona. Her passing away doesn't make it any less important or less worthy, that Lilly got Dona medical help, and she wasn't left alone in the nature. And thank you Dona's daughter for letting Lilly stay.
Joanne Snell June 19, 2012 at 02:46 PM
I just found out about this wonderful lady's death and my heart goes out to her family. God bless Lily for trying to save her mommy's like her mommy saved hers and thank you to her daughter for taking the responsibility for Lily and all the other animals that her mother loved so dearly. May you rest in peace Miss Dona.
Kandi Collins June 19, 2012 at 04:04 PM
What a sad ending, My heart goes out to the family and to brave Lilly. She tried her hardest and she did all she could do to help her mom !!!. Thank you to Dona's daughter for making sure lilly still has a loving home. This dog surely deserves it.
LoyaltyOfDogs.com June 21, 2012 at 12:48 AM
So sad that Lilly was not able to save Dona, who had first saved her. I hope that knowing Lilly did her best to help will bring peace for Dona's family, and that Lilly's presence with them in Dona's daughter's home will also be a comfort.

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