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Tag: train

Dog who raced NYC train gets adopted

tie

You might think a collective groan would have been the reaction when a conductor informed passengers on New York’s Metro that the trip from the South Bronx to Manhattan was going to take a little longer than usual.

But when he told them the reason — that a dog was running in front of the train — they began to cheer the engineer’s decision to slow down.

The dog started racing alongside the train as it moved out of Mott Haven Junction on the North Hudson line, en route to Grand Central shortly before 11 a.m. last Tuesday.

Engineer Joseph Delia told the New York Post he slowed the train down to a crawl to avoid hitting the dog, who at one point got ahead of the lead car and twice fell between the track ties.

“She’s not a very big dog. I was worried she wouldn’t make it and get electrocuted,” Delia, a dog lover, added.

The pup made it safely to the 125th Street station in Harlem, where she ran into the arms of two waiting MTA police officers and a station worker.

Passengers cheered again as officers put her into a patrol car, the Post said.

Once in custody, the dog was named Tie by MTA workers — for all the railroad ties she ran across. Tie had a limp and was nursing her right front paw, but was wagging her tail and seemed in good spirits, said one of the MTA police officers who helped rescue her.

After five days at Animal Care & Control, she was adopted by a new family Sunday, NBC 4 in New York reported.

Animal Care & Control said it received more than 100 queries, and about 36 applications, from people wanting to adopt her.

(Photo: Meredith Daniels / New York MTA)

Cecil Williams will keep his guide dog; help pours in after they’re hit by subway train

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

A blind man and his guide dog who were struck by a subway train in Manhattan Tuesday will be able to remain together — thanks to donations from members of the public touched by their story.

Cecil Williams fainted and fell on the New York City subway tracks, taking his harnessed dog, Orlando, with him.

Orlando barked for help and stayed by his side, even as the train passed over them.

In a story about the accident that aired on NBC Nightly News Tuesday night, it was reported that Orlando was slated to retire in January, and that Williams lacked the funds to continue to care for the dog afterwards, when the dog would no longer be covered by his insurance.

Since then, enough donations to their cause have been received by Guiding Eyes for the Blind to help pay for all of Orlando’s retirement expenses, and ensure that the pair’s eight-year relationship continues.

williamsand orlandoWilliams, 61, was on his way to the dentist when he fainted at the 125th Street platform. Witnesses said the dog was barking and tried to stop Williams from falling, as he is trained to do. When they both landed on the tracks, Orlando tried to rouse Williams, who was unconscious. Both lay there as a slow-moving subway train passed above them.

Nieither sustained serious injuries.

“The dog saved my life,” Williams said of his Labrador retriever. “I’m feeling amazed. I feel that God, the powers that be, have something in store from me. They didn’t take me away this time. I’m here for a reason.”

Williams, who is on insulin and other medications, was taken to a hospital, where Orlando remains at his bedside.

The Brooklyn man has been blind since 1995. Orlando, his second guide dog, “saves my life on a daily basis,” he said.

At a press conference Williams thanked everyone “for showing their humanity and peace and goodwill” by making donations to the guide dog school that trained Orlando.

“All the people who contribute and donated I think we should take our hat off to them,” he said. “There’s still good people in this world.”

(Photo: Williams and Orlando at press conference; by Carlo Allegri / REUTERS, via NBC)

Dog left tied to train tracks finds new home


A dog left tied to train tracks in California last month has found a new home.

Unlike that day last month, when he was secured to the tracks in the path of an oncoming train, he had many options to choose from.

Officials at Riverside County’s Department of Animal Services said they received more than 1,300 emails from people interested in adopting the rescued dog they dubbed Banjo. He was found by a Union Pacific crew in Mecca, where he’d been tied to the rails by a man who told authorities the dog was no longer wanted.

The 11-month-old poodle-terrier mix went home Friday with Jeff and Louisa Moore of Huntington Beach.

“He’s so beautiful isn’t he?” Louisa (above) said to her husband, holding Banjo in her arms for the first time.

Letters of interest came in from as far away as England and Puerto Rico, but animal services officials said the Moores were chosen because they constantly checked in on Banjo via e-mail and live close to the beach and a dog park.

Jeff Moore said he and his wife applied to adopt Banjo after seeing his story on the news and Facebook.

“Tonight we’re just going to go home and hang out,” Jeff told the Desert Sun in Palm Beach. “We have a big field that’s right next to our place that about a dozen of us all go out with our dogs, and they all get along really well, so it’ll be fun introducing him to all the dogs. I’m sure they’ll love him.”

Before the couple left, Jo Marie Upegui, a veterinarian technician at Coachella Valley Animal Campus, explained to them that Banjo liked tortillas and snuggling on the couch and that he feared brooms and men in uniform.

The Moores, who also have a Tibetan terrier named Lali, said they planed to create a Facebook page to keep those interested up to date on Banjo’s new life.

Banjo’s name refers to old traffic signals on rail lines. He was discovered when a westbound train crew noticed a hunched-over man walking away from the tracks, leaving the dog behind. The crew alerted dispatchers, who stopped the eastbound train coming down the tracks to which Banjo was tied.

A 78-year-old man was questioned, but not charged. He appeared confused and possibly suffering from dementia. He told investigators his family no longer wanted the dog and didn’t know what to do with him.

(Photo: Riverside County Department of Animal Services)

A close call for Sparky


A lost dog, stuck in train tracks.

An oncoming N.J. Transit train, in a hurry to make Hoboken.

Not the ingredients for a happy ending.

But there was one, anyway.

The engineer and conductors spotted Sparky, an American Eskimo dog, on the tracks Tuesday morning, on the Bergen county Line in Garfield. He was stuck between the rails and a bridge joint.

They brought the train to a halt, disengaged him, and brought him aboard.

Passengers, despite the six-minute delay, approved and brok into applause when the crew and dog reboarded.

“When we came in, they all came, their camera phones out, taking pictures, they were all in good spirits,” train conductor Paul Bowen told CBS in New York.

In another fortunate twist of fate, Sparky’s owner called police in Garfield to report her dog missing about the time NJ Transit reported the one they’d found.

“I was so scared, because I didn’t know where he was,” owner Yvette Osorio said. “I’m very happy and I’m thankful to all of them for saving my dog.”

BARCS to be part of pit bull project

Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS) is one of five shelters that will take part in a pilot program aimed at reducing euthanasia of pit bulls, encouraging responsible ownership and improving the perception of the breed.

A $240,000 grant from PetSmart Charities will fund the programs, coordinated by Best Friends Animal Society.

The grant was announced last week in Las Vegas at Best Friends’ annual  No More Homeless Pets Conference.

The “Shelter Partners for Pit Bulls Project” will create partnerships between Best Friends and shelters in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Baltimore, Md., Washington, D.C., Carlsbad, Calif. and Tampa, Fla.

All will be based on the partnership between Best Friends and Salt Lake County Animal Services that began in July 2009. It resulted in a 10 percent drop in euthanasia of pit bull-type dogs in its first year, and led to twice as many being adopted as the previous year.

The Salt Lake program, which will serve as a model for the new pilot projects, offers community education and free or low-cost training and spaying and neutering — all aimed at keeping pets in the family and reduce the numbers being abandoned.

The program uses volunteers, called the “Pit Crew,” to showcases dogs for adoption through outreach events, photos and descriptions online and also fosters dogs whose time is up in the shelter. There also is emphasis on creating frequent media opportunities to portray pit bull-type dogs in a positive light–to counter the image of the breed often presented in the news.

Funds provided by PetSmart Charities and additional funds from Best Friends will be used to pay for a shelter coordinator in each city, support marketing and public relations in those markets, and pay for a Best Friends program manager to oversee implementation and reporting in the five shelters.

“As with any dog that is spayed or neutered, properly trained, socialized and treated with love and kindness, pit bull-type dogs can be well adjusted, happily balanced, and affectionate members of the family,” says Jamie Healy, Shelter Partners for Pit Bulls manager. “It’s the person on the other end of the leash who decides how their dog interacts with others and who sometimes put these dogs at the wrong side of the law.”

Best Friends Animal Society works to help pit bulls through its national campaign, Pit Bulls: Saving America’s Dog, which helps dogs who are battling everything from a sensationalized reputation to legislation designed to bring about their extinction.

Two owners die trying to save their dogs

In Houston and Philadelphia, sad stories emerged at the end of the last week of humans who, while trying to save the lives of their dogs, lost their own.

In Philadelphia, a woman was struck and killed Friday night as she ran onto a set of railroad tracks to save her dog from an oncoming commuter train, police said.

The woman, who police described as in her 40s and from out-of-state, was standing on the platform of the Bryn Mawr station about 6 p.m. when her dog got loose and bounded onto the rails, according to Lower Merion Township police.

The woman was waiting for a train when her dog got loose. She chased the black Chihuahua onto the tracks as an eastbound SEPTAtrain pulled into the station. She was killed instantly, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The dog was recovered without injuries and taken to an animal hospital.

In the Houston arrea, Harris County sheriff’s Deputy Eddie Wotipka drowned late Thursday as he attempted to rescue one of his dogs from a canal near his home in Baytown.

The 51-year-old officer had pulled up to his home in his patrol unit and was told by neighbors his dogs were running loose near an industrial canal.

Wotipka saw his English bulldog go into the canal and plunged in after her. He resurfaced once then went under again. Wotipka’s body was recovered the next morning about 150 feet from where he entered the canal, the Houston Chronicle reported. The dog also died.

Wotipka joined the department in 1993 and was known as a lover of dogs. While in his patrol cruiser a week ago, he slammed on his brakes to avoid a stray dog in the middle of the road, then ended up bringing the dog, who he named Skidmark, home.

The police officers’ union is planning a fundraiser for the Wotipka family on July 31.

Man killed trying to save dog from train

A 60-year-old California man was killed while trying to keep his dog from being hit by a train.

Christopher Gray, of San Pablo, was walking his dog in Pinole Wednesday morning when he saw an Amtrak train coming down the tracks, near Pinole shores Park.

Contra Costa County Coroner’s investigators believe Gray was standing on the other set of tracks trying to hold his dog back from the oncoming train when a second Amtrak train came from behind and struck him.

The impact from the second train launched Gray into the path of the oncoming train, and he was run over, a deputy coroner said. His dog was also killed, CBS5 reported.

Gray was the second person this year to be killed by an Amtrak train in nearly the same spot.

Some crazy shih-tzu: Tiny dog takes on train

A stray shih-tzu in Utah got hit by an outbound train, and hit by it again on its return route, then was rescued and taken home by the engineer.

“I saw this little guy between the rail,” said Fred Krause, a Utah Railway engineer, “and of course and it was too late to do anything about it… It breaks your heart. But there’s nothing you can do.”

Krause’s train, on its way to Kennecott, struck the dog Sunday. On his return trip to Midvale, he encountered the dog again, ABC 4 News reported.

It was as if the dog were playing a game of chicken with the train, he said.

“I’m flashing the lights, blowing the horn, trying to get him out of the rails,” Krause said. “And he just ran right down the rails at us. I tried to slow down, got it from 20 miles per hour to 15 miles per hour when we hit, thought for sure we killed him.”

The engineer was required to keep the train moving, but when he got off work, Krause, who has a shih-tzu of his own, went back to the scene to look for the dog.

“I took my flashlight and walked down the rails and saw a heap of fur and thought this is it,” Krause said. “I shined a light on him and he turned around and looked at me.”

Krause took the dog to the vet, then brought him home.

“If he can get along with Milo (his other shih-tzu) we might keep him,” Krause said. “If we can find the original owners we’ll give him back. Or if not we’ll find a home.”

The Seeing Eye celebrates 80th year

morrisandbuddyAbout 200 graduates of The Seeing Eye, the world’s oldest guide dog school for the blind and visually impaired in the United States and Canada, came together last weekend to celebrate the group’s 80th anniversary.

Every year, nearly 300 students attend The Seeing Eye to learn how to bond with a guide dog. About 8,000 people have been served since the organization’s inception, said Teresa Davenport, director of communications. About 500 puppies are born each year at the school’s Breeding Station in Chester Township, N.J. according to the Newark Star-Ledger

It costs tens of thousands of dollars to match just one person with a dog, yet the school relies solely on donations, Davenport said.

During the three-day reunion, the graduates attended banquets, workshops and toured Morristown.

Morris Frank started The Seeing Eye in 1929, after he was inspired by a 1927 article by well-known dog breeder and philanthropist Dorothy Harrison Eustis about guide dogs assisting blind World War I veterans.

Frustrated by his own lack of mobility as a blind person, he was wrote to Eustis, an American training German shepherd dogs in Switzerland. When she received Morris Frank’s letter, she agreed to help him, according to The Seeing Eye’s website.

“He promised he would return to the United States and spread the word about guide dogs.  In 1928, having completed instruction in Switzerland, he arrived in New York City, proving the ability of his dog Buddy before throngs of news reporters.  His one-word telegram to Mrs. Eustis told the entire story  … ‘Success.’  The Seeing Eye was born, with the dream of making the entire world accessible to people who are blind.”

“It was the beginning of the Great Depression, and here we are, 80 years later, and The Seeing Eye is still going strong,” said Pete Lang, former Seeing Eye instruction and training manager.

“It is the leading guide dog school in the world,” said Marion Gwizdala, president of the Tampa, Fla.-based National Association of Guide Dog Users. He said the school has for years set a standard for dog guide schools. There are about a dozen in the nation, and 72 worldwide accredited by the International Dog Guide Federation.

(Photo: Morris and Buddy)

Franken seeks more service dogs for war vets

frankenWe liked him as a comedian, and early indications are we’ll like him as a politician — not that we see too vast a difference between the two.

In his first piece of legislation as Minnesota’s junior senator, Al Franken is trying to expand the number of service dogs available to wounded veterans.

In an opinion piece published Monday in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Franken proposed a pilot program that will train “a statistically significant number of dogs,” put them to work and measure the benefits they provide to veterans living with devastating war injuries.

Franken believes the dogs’ companionship provides invaluable health benefits — both physical and emotional — to veterans suffering from debilitating injuries and psychological disorders.

The service dogs will help “reduce the suicide rate among veterans, decrease the number of hospitalizations and lower the cost of medications and human care,” he said.

Franken’s said the legislation was inspired by a meeting he had last January with a wounded former Iraqi intelligence officer and his golden retriever, “Tuesday.”

“Service dogs like Tuesday can be of immense benefit to vets suffering from physical and emotional wounds,” wrote Franken.

Franken said service dogs typically cost about $20,000 to train and another $5,000 to place with a veteran — a cost that is well worth the investment.

“It is my strong belief that a service dog will more than pay for itself over its life, and my bill is designed to determine the return on investment with a pilot program that provides service dogs to hundreds of veterans,” said Franken.

Franken’s bill would be his first piece of legislation since officially becoming a senator on July 7.