Quick-thinking and a bundle of courage helped Piper Rolfe rescue her friend from a vicious raccoon attack in the Vermont woods on Sunday.

Ten-year-old Piper was playing in the woods with her friend Irie Campbell, 11, and Irie's five-year-old younger brother, Felix, behind the Campbells' house when the trouble started. Around noon, the kids say, Felix noticed a raccoon hissing at the bottom of a hill. He began to scream, and when he ran towards Irie, the raccoon followed — jumping at Irie's face, she says.

"So I put my hands up to my face like this. And then it grabs onto my thumb. I started to choke it with my left hand and then it started to fall off and then it grabbed a hold of me right here," Irie told WCAX, motioning by her right knee, which is wrapped in gauze. "I started to choke it with both hands. Then it jumped up and got me on my hand and now I have four stitches there."

In total, the raccoon managed to inflict six bites on Irie. It would have been more, if not for Piper's quick-thinking.

Felix's screams during the altercation alerted Piper, who is legally blind due to a degenerative disorder, to the raccoon's threat.

"Piper said, 'What is it?' And I said it was a raccoon," Irie recalled, "and she got a stick and started to poke it and hitting it a little which helped out a lot."

Like many heroes, Piper downplayed her vigilance. Even she didn't know where her sense of urgency came from, just that she knew a friend was in danger.

"I already had the stick. I don't really know what I was thinking. I just thought to try to get it off Irie," Piper said. "I don't really know. I didn't want Irie to get really hurt."

Meanwhile, Felix quickly scoured the area for a larger stick to disentangle the raccoon; however, his search hit a dead end, he said. He resorted to verbal intimidation.

"When Piper was beating it with a stick, I was trying to find a big enough stick. There was this really big stick. But since it was really big, I was afraid to use it. And then I screamed, 'Get away from my sister, raccoon!'" he said.

Luckily, the combination of all three kids' attempts to ward off the raccoon eventually paid off, sending it scampering back into the woods. Although it was never captured, health officials assumed the animal had rabies — along with 27 new cases reported in Vermont this year, which the officials say is normal — and had Irie receive the necessary shots.

She is scheduled to receive several more shots in the coming weeks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to prevent a rabies infection is by avoiding contact with wild animals, namely raccoons, skunks, foxes, and coyotes. All mammals can contract the rabies virus, and officials advise those who fear they've been infected to thoroughly wash the suspected area immediately after contact.

But thanks to modern medicine, and in this case, Piper's alertness, Irie stands a full chance of recovery.

"I think that if she didn't help me out, then it would have eaten me more," Irie said. "She really helped out a lot. She's a good friend."