updated 05/09/2012 AT 4:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/12/2012 AT 11:00 AM ET
When her owner was in trouble, an 8-year-old pit bull named Lilly immediately stepped in to save her, pulling her unconscious body off of train tracks in Shirley, Mass., on May 4 as an oncoming train approached, and instead, taking the hit for her.
The train’s conductor, who couldn’t slow the freight train in time, initially thought he had struck and killed the woman, named Christine Spain, and her dog, but when he surveyed the scene, he saw that Spain had been dragged to the side, while Lilly had sustained severe injuries as a result of the collision. The pit bull’s right front leg was de-gloved, meaning all of the skin and muscle had been removed, and X-Rays would later show she had sustained multiple fractures in her pelvis.
When Spain’s son, police officer David Lanteigne, arrived on site, he helped tend to Lilly, and later stayed by her side as she was transported to Boston’s Angell Animal Medical Center, where she is now in recovery.
“The first thing I saw [when I got there] was Lilly laying in the back of the car with her head up, alert, just looking at me, with her big amazing eyes she has,” Lanteigne tells PEOPLE. “She never broke eye contact with me, her tail started wagging, and she knew I was there to help her and that she was going to be okay.”