By Stephanie Parker
A dog doesn’t have to be Lassie to be a hero, nor does the dog have to be any certain size - including big.
Cedar Creek Nursing facility patient Evelyn Wilkirson of Uvalde, had taken her walker and a water hose approximately six acres into the eight-acre tract she owns in Uvalde to water an apple tree. “Once,” she said sadly of the property she has owned for 20 years, “We had 200 fruit trees. We never sold the fruit. Just gave it away. And I did a lot of canning. Now we’re down to about 20 trees including an orange tree that gave five bushels last year.”
From the couch at the Cedar Creek facility, Wilkirson sighed and shook her head. “I don’t suppose it will be that much this year now.” Then she brightened visibly, adding, “But my son-in-law will help water while I’m here.”
What put Wilkirson into the nursing home was a fall. What got her out of the more than three-hour ordeal following the fall was her little Chihuahua, “Sally.”
“When I reached over to pick up the hose,” Wilkirson explained, “I lost my balance and fell. I couldn’t get back up. For three hours I tried and tried, but I just couldn’t get up. Sally never left my side. She stayed right there with me.
“Then it began to get dark. Sally knew that I had been there long enough and that I needed help. She ran to our closest next-door neighbor and started barking at his door. She just barked and barked. He knew that wasn’t like her. She had never done that before. So he followed Sally over to my house. When he couldn’t find me around the house, he called my daughter and son-in-law.”
James and Sandra Perez live a little less than a mile away and arrived immediately. Sally led them to Wilkirson. James brought a wheelchair and helped his mother-in-law into it, then he and Sandra settled her comfortably in bed.
“I wasn’t hurt,” Wilkirson explained. “I was just so tired. I was trembling all over from muscle exertion. I spent more than three hours trying to get back up. I tried again and again and again.”
Even as Wilkirson’s scraped and bruised knees heal and evidence of her fall fades away, one memory remains indelible - Sally’s role in her rescue. “I’ve had Sally for six years. She was a gift from my daughter. My daughter is taking care of her for me while I’m here.”
Wilkirson would not exchange her unlikely doggie hero, Sally, for all the “Lassies” in the world.