Marilyn Goodman Hill's dogs were her life, a longtime neighbor said.
On Thursday, the 65-year-old Hill and one of her beloved dogs died, apparently after she tried to save it from drowning.
Hill and the 18-year-old partly blind schnauzer, Rastus, were found dead in the swimming pool at her Palma Ceia home about 2:50 p.m. Thursday by a man who had come to clean the pool.
Police said the dog appeared to have died earlier than Hill. Authorities think Hill discovered Rastus in the pool and died attempting to retrieve the dog. She drowned or died from some other medical problem, Tampa police spokesman Steve Cole said.
The Hillsborough County medical examiner will perform an autopsy on Hill to determine how she died.
T. Hudson, 81, Hill's neighbor for more than 20 years, said another of Hill's dogs drowned in the small, kidney shaped pool last year and "she still couldn't talk about it without crying."
Hill's surviving dog, a terrier named Gipper, will be cared for by family members, police said.
Cole said Hill, who lived alone, was wearing a dress with a bathing suit beneath it and had her reading glasses on when she was found. Family members said she was not a strong swimmer.
City records showed that emergency medical personnel had responded at least twice to the Kensington Street house in recent months.