Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Dec. 11, 2000

Dog survives encounter with locomotive

Thanks to quick action by the Wright County Sheriff's Department and the Humane Society of Wright County, a homeless dog hit by a train lying injured and vulnerable on the Crow River train trestle in Delano was rescued in time to save his life, recently.

A call came into the Sheriff's Department that an animal was crying in agony somewhere near the train tracks in Delano.

Deputy Scott Bjore went to investigate and found a big dog, severely injured, lying on the tracks. He said, "I was afraid another train would come before we could move the dog to safety." The Humane Society of Wright County was called and shelter manager, Jessica Harris, and assistant Dawn Houchin raced to the scene with emergency equipment to rescue the injured dog struggling for his life.

Harris described the rescue in her own words. "We could hear the dog's heart-wrenching cries for help from 100 yards away as our van pulled up to the tracks. As we ran toward the dog with our rescue equipment, we could see that he was in a very precarious position on the main trestle above the Crow River.

"The way his body was situated on the tracks, it was amazing that he had not fallen through the railroad ties. We cautiously approached the dog, a White German Shepherd mix, and got him onto the stretcher. The assisting police officer (Bjore) was wonderful, helping us transport the dog to solid ground and safety.

"Unfortunately, it was evident that the dog's right hind leg had been completely severed. Although he was in extreme pain on the way to the veterinarian clinic, he managed to lick our faces and hands ­ his way of saying 'thank you.' He knew we had saved his life."

Houchin, who had to overcome her fear of heights in order to help in the rescue, said she wasn't sure what the dog would do when they got close to him. She has seen injured animals lunge and try to bite the rescuer because they were so afraid.

Houchin said, "This dog seemed to know the minute we touched him that we were there to help."

"We named the dog 'Trestle' after his ordeal. It broke his body, but it couldn't break his spirit," Harris said.

Trestle has had three surgeries for repairing a severed leg and tail, broken pelvis and fractured hip. This courageous dog is now expected to make a slow, but full recovery in foster care.

The Humane Society of Wright County has a Special Needs Fund to cover emergency care for animals such as Trestle. Call the Humane Society of Wright County Business Office at (763) 682-7061 if you would like more information or to make a donation so this humane effort can continue.

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