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Dog survives after being hit by train despite terrible injuries

By This is Devon  |  Posted: December 11, 2010

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THE vet who saved the life of a dog which survived being hit by a train has described him as "a little miracle".

Bruno, a five-year-old labrador, suffered terrible injuries but was saved by vets at the city's Companion Care surgery.

Chris Eiermann, who spent three hours operating on the animal, said: "We see dogs in car accidents every week, but when a dog is hit by a train that is usually that. This really is a little miracle."

Bruno, owned by Dawn and Graham Cann, of Leypark Road, Whipton, was struck by a train on the Exeter to Exmouth line near his home.

The track runs along the back of houses where gardens end just before the embankment.

Graham, a van driver for butchers Leach & Sons, said: "It is an absolute miracle he is still alive. The vets were amazing and I can't say enough about them."

He said Bruno had been in the back garden when Dawn noticed he was missing.

"I went outside and called his name. There is a hole in the fence at the bottom of the garden which is covered by an old door and breeze blocks," Graham said. "He must have got through there.

"I called him and called him and guessed he must be on the line. I put my shoes on and rushed out to the pedestrian bridge that crosses over the line just up the road.

"I looked over and I could see Bruno, he was walking along really slowly.

"I rushed back home, kicked a bigger hole in the fence and went out to call him.

"He came back and managed to stick his head through the hole. He was bleeding from the mouth and as he came on in I could see he had a massive gash on his back. He also had a terrible wound to his backside and his tail was completely sheared off. He was in a bad way."

Graham called the vet and rushed Bruno to the surgery in the Pets at Home store on the Rydon Lane Retail Park.

He said: "They were great. They started to operate on him almost straight away.

"It was amazing; he went in on the Wednesday and was allowed home with us on Friday afternoon.

"He had loads of staples placed across the cuts and he had also broken his jaw in three places. He is okay, although feeling a bit sorry for himself.

"How a dog can be hit by a train and survive I don't know but we are all delighted he has pulled through."

Mr Eiermann said Bruno had three fractures of the jaw, a fractured leg, his tail was ripped off and his spine was exposed.

"It was one of the worst cases of this type that I have ever seen. He was in shock when he arrived and we stabilised him and gave him pain killers.

"He was in surgery for three and a half hours, which is a long time for an animal.

"After he came out our nurse Nicky Collins stayed with him after work and did not leave until 2am before coming back in the morning to see he was recovering.

"He has done amazingly well. He is eating and drinking and seems to be making a good recovery.

"He has a little stump of a tail left to wag."

Meanwhile Dawn and Graham, who have three children, Adam, 24, Lewis, 23, and Chloe, 17, now have another problem.

Graham said: "Sadly we didn't have any vet insurance and the bill is £1,066. I heard Pets at Home are starting a collection.

"It is a lot of money but we'll just have to pay up. I have to say though, we all think Bruno is worth it. He's a super dog."

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    unkie mark, exeter  |  December 17 2010, 3:57PM

    well said cloe i too know the family concerned and know that bruno IS well loved and cared for its just a horrific accident that luckily with great vetinary skill was not a fatal accident glad to hear bruno is well on the road to recovery thanks mainly to the love and affection he receives best of luck to brave bruno and the cann family

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    Chloe, Exeter  |  December 13 2010, 3:02PM

    For the people who have posted positive comments, thank you. Glad there are actually nice people in this world. As for people who have nothing better than to write negative comments about myself and my family for being bad pet owners... Well you don't know half the story! We have had Bruno since he was 8 weeks old and that hole in the fence that your making out is so bad has always been there! Bruno has never before even attempted to get out of our garden even though he's always known the hole was there. We think there was a bitch on heat that he smelt and then thats when he moved the door and unfortunately got out. As for not having pet insurance - Bruno isn't our only pet and we can't afford to get insurance on all of them. As for "Animal Lover" saying that Bruno should get new owners who love him enough to get pet insurance - that's just complete rubbish! We couldn't love Bruno anymore than we do. He's more than just a dog to us, he's a very big part of our family. You can slate us about not having pet insurance as much as you like but I'm pretty sure that there's plently of pet owners who don't have pet insurance no matter how much they love their pets! Stephen from Herts, maybe your lucky enough to be able to spend out £1,066 and not be bothered about it but unfortunately we're not. However, my dad was more than willing to pay the bill as we love Bruno and wanted to give him every chance of survival that we could... and have. There are also bills that we have to pay out every week for Bruno's medication (which aren't cheap) but we really aren't bothered about it because Bruno is still here with us. We could have very easily payed a much smaller bill and just had our wonderful dog put to sleep, but we didn't and would never have thought of that unless it was necessary. Money isn¿t a concern in this situation and never will be. There was also a concern that Bruno¿s jaw wasn¿t going to heal properly and he would have to go and see a specialist in Totnes which would have been over £2000 which is clearly a lot of money but we said we were willing to pay for it. So how people can say that we don¿t care for Bruno and that he needs new owners absolutely disgusts me. ¿Local Vocal¿ you are right, we had a brand new fence panel put in the next day and can guarantee that nothing like this will ever happen again.

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    Stephen, Herts  |  December 13 2010, 1:24PM

    "Three hours surgery for a dog at over £300 per hour, the world has gone mad!" Once you include the drugs (anaesthesia, antibiotics, etc), two days and nights in hospital, staples, stitches, VAT, etc., £1,066 doesn't seem so high.

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    Dave, nyc,USA  |  December 12 2010, 2:29PM


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    Animal Lover, Exeter  |  December 12 2010, 4:32AM

    I hope Bruno gets better soon and maybe gets some new owners who love him enough to get pet insurance. Peter/Local Vocal, yes let's reward these people for not having adequate insurance by paying the bills for them. Maybe you would like to contribute when their house burns down or their car gets damaged and they arent insured.

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    Steve, Exeter  |  December 11 2010, 11:51PM

    Three hours surgery for a dog at over £300 per hour, the world has gone mad!

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    Local Vocal, Exeter  |  December 11 2010, 11:08PM

    So sad - but so pleased he's on the mend. My fathers dog unfortuately was killed on that same line 30 years ago and also my brothers dog , 10 years ago, both not far from Leypark Rd, but the otherside of the line. It would be nice to see some kind of fencing around the housed areas where track lines run through the estates. Im sure the poor dog owners will be making it their first priority to fix their own fence. I will also be making a donation and hope to hear and update soon of a sucessful recovery. Poor thing!

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    Peter, Germany  |  December 11 2010, 5:55PM

    Hi Graham,I hope Bruno gets better,and lives a long life.Dave from devon comments are sick.He should see how many children get killed,injured on railway lines.maybe all children should be chained up in the garden?Anyway,I would like to help.Feel free to contact me,or maybe Pets at Home can.A donation will be on it´s way.

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    Dave, Devon  |  December 11 2010, 1:47PM

    For a few quid you could have repaired the fence properly, especially as you know that there is a railway line running behind your property now it has cost you over a £1000 and you still have a hole in your fence.Good business sense.Good news Bruno is okay hope you won't be skint flints in the future.

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    dave h, exeter  |  December 11 2010, 1:28PM

    good news about bruno