After a long hot day of work for York County’s road maintenance department, Tim Walling was beat.
He was driving home at about 6:30 p.m., turning on to India Hook Road, when he saw a pair of dogs attacking two people.
A bunch of other drivers saw it too. They must have. It happened on the sidewalk and in a parking lot of an apartment complex on a busy city street, near an intersection with other busy city streets.
The man being attacked by the dogs, Andrew Jorgensen, 78, has had a triple-bypass heart operation and has an artificial knee.
Never miss a local story.
His wife, Thelma “Tee” Carlile, 68, is being treated for angina, heart pains.
But Walling did not know any of that as he drove past the scene. All he heard was a woman screaming, terrified, as she held two little dogs, Rosie and Daisy, in her arms.
Walling, 46, did not do nothing, as all those other drivers did. He made an immediate U-turn, pulled his truck up on the sidewalk, and lunged out to help.
He had no stick or pole, no knife or gun. All he had to protect these two strangers was his body and his guts.
“The dogs were lunging at them, jumping at them,” Walling said. “They were at least pit bull mixes, if not full-breed pit bulls. The lady was hysterical. She was so scared she couldn’t move.”
Jorgensen already had a bite on his arm but was doing all he could to fight off the dogs.
Walling yelled at the dogs and waved his arms. He was able to push them toward and up a stairway, and he stayed between the stairs and the couple.
When the dogs bounded back down the stairs, Walling held his ground between the dogs and the couple.
“I just figured that the only way to keep those dogs from that couple – the lady had her tiny dogs in her arms the whole time – was me,” Walling said.
Walling yelled at the dogs and flailed at them until they finally went bounding up the stairs to where their owner lives.
Once the dogs were out of sight, Walling did not leave Carlile and Jorgensen worried and injured, still shaken up. He called 911 and York County Animal Control and waited with the couple until authorities arrived.
Walling made sure that these people were helped by police, and he made sure that the animal control people knew where to find the dogs and their owner.
The dogs’ owner was cited by animal control, according to the police report from the incident.
Finally, Walling went home.
“Sometimes you just know what the right thing to do is, and you do it,” he said.
Yet so many people driving by that day, hearing the terrified screams of Tee Carlile and seeing the dogs attacking her and Jorgensen, just drove on by, leaving them to fend off two unleashed dogs.
Carlile and Jorgensen have only been in Rock Hill for a year, having moved here from Florida. They live in nearby apartments, and they walk their two little dogs often.
“This isn’t the first time we were ever chased by unleashed dogs, threatened by bigger dogs running free, around here,” Carlile said.
The day of the attack, Aug. 8, started out as another of those dog-walking days when the two larger dogs turned the walk into a nightmare.
“Those dogs were circling us, it was scary,” said Jorgensen. “This man just stopped and risked his own safety – for us.”
Carlile said Walling was the only driver of the dozens who drove by during the evening rush hour to stop and help.
“Tim Walling is truly one in a million,” Carlile said. “It could have been much worse if it wasn’t for him.
Walling tried to deflect praise.
“I don’t consider myself a hero,” he said.
The couple was so moved by Walling’s actions, which Carlile called “heroics,” that Carlile wrote a letter to the county’s road maintenance department extolling Walling.
The letter ends with a simple statement that sums up what happened to two older people who were scared for their lives until Tim Walling had the courage to stop and help.
“If there were more people like him in the world, it would be a much better place.”