Clinic Stories

Keep Your Head Low

Is it possible for man or beast to be run over by a train and survive? Consider Cecil Williams, a blind man, and his guide dog, Orlando. In December 2013, Cecil fell onto subway tracks in New York taking Orlando with him. A worker instructed him not to try to climb out and to lay down between the tracks until the area could be secured. However a subway train was bearing down. Mr. Williams told Orlando to get down and one and one-half cars passed over them before stopping. Neither Cecil or Orlando was seriously hurt.

I have seen dogs run over by trains but none that survived. Until now. I received an emergency call from Animal Control about an injured dog found on railroad tracks and presumably hit by a train. The dog, a female Jack Russel Terrier was in rough shape, cold, in shock, and unable to stand with swelling on her side and face. There were no fractures. Her injuries did not seem severe enough to be caused by a train so I assumed she had been hit by a car at a railroad crossing. Her owners were located, and within 24 hours she was out of shock, eating, urinating, defecating and was getting some of her limb function back.

When she was discharged her owners told me they talked to a train conductor. He had seen her on the tracks and had run over her. The next train reported seeing her still laying on the tracks and he had also run over her. At that point the police came to retrieve her. She had miraculously positioned herself so the trains passed over her without hitting her directly. She is continuing to make progress and chances are good for a full recovery.

So it is possible to be run over by two trains and survive, as long as you keep your head down.

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