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.

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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