AURORA | When Aurora veterinarian Nicole Bartley answered a call July 3 from animal control officers who told her a dog had been hit by a train, she at first thought she had misheard them.
“We do see these animals get hit by cars, and (the animal control officers) give me a heads up so we can be ready for them,” she said. “But when they called and said ‘We’ve got a hit-by-a-train, I said, ‘Can you run that by me one more time?'”
The brown and white pharoah hound mix came to Bartley’s office at the Aurora Animal Shelter in bad shape after getting hit by a light rail at the Dayton Street station. The stray dog, about a year and a half old and nicknamed “Amtrak”, suffered an injured right paw and wounds to her head, back and left eye.
“She was in a lot of pain,” Bartley said.
Over the next few weeks, the dog underwent more than $1,500 worth of medical treatment including surgery, and Bartley said she’s amazed at how well Amtrak has recovered.
“I never thought she’d walk square on that paw again,” she said.
Now, Amtrak has only a few visible signs from the trauma. She’s skittish when crowds of people are around, and her left eye was permanently damaged in the accident, leaving her blind in that eye.
“They have an amazing capability to heal,” Bartley said. “Animals are amazing.”
The dog, who has been staying in a foster house for about three weeks, will be ready for adoption in about 10 days. Cheryl Conway, spokeswoman for the Aurora Animal Shelter, said Amtrak’s upbeat personality will make her a good pet for practically any home. She said her future owners will have to be conscious of her disability, though.
“They are going to need to be patient because she is permanently blind in one eye,” she said.
Amtrak’s foster mother, Sheila Billing-Sley, said she’s a well trained dog.
“She is really great,” Billing-Sley said. “She’s so attentive, and I think she’s extremely intelligent.”
The Aurora Animal Shelter is asking for donations to offset the cost of Amtrak’s medical bills. To donate, make a check payable to the Aurora Animal Shelter and write “Amtrak” on the memo line, or donate online at auroragov.org/animal and write “Amtrak” in the comments box.