A beloved beagle hit by a train managed to limp home with a broken leg after being missing for 10 days.
Two-year-old Ronnie was so scared by the fireworks that he ran out of his owner’s garden in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
Owner Jo Wackwett was working from home at the time, but her partner Grant noticed the dog jumped over the garden gate.
Flight attendant Jo feared the worst when the train driver reported that he had run over a dog matching his description.
“Ronnie isn’t usually afraid of fireworks, but there was a particularly loud boom and my partner Grant saw him bursting through our gate, which was quite an effort as it is quite tall,” she said.
“As soon as I found out he had escaped, I posted on social media and was contacted by a train driver who saw Ronnie on the tracks and believes his train hit him as it was rounding a bend.
“It happened near our local High Brooms station and when I sent him a picture of Ronnie he was sure it was the dog he had seen.”
“The train driver was devastated but after a phone call I explained what had happened.
“Since there were no more sightings of Ronnie, we assumed the worst and told our daughter he would never come home.”
“We were all absolutely heartbroken and completely mourning Ronnie.”
But after 10 days, a friend called Jo to tell her the good news – they spotted a battered Ronnie in a local park and followed him to Jo’s house.
Realizing it was a missing dog, the person dropped a note into Jo’s mailbox saying that she had rushed Ronnie to the vet.
Reunited, Jo said: “I sat down on the floor and he put his head on my shoulder for a proper cuddle and left it there for a few minutes.
“He was skinny, covered in nasty cuts, and had a badly broken leg, but he was alive and that was all that mattered.”
Ronnie was treated for a broken leg at Anderson Abercromby, a veterinary practice in Warnham.
Surgeon Federico Piccinno said, “Ronnie was very thin when he was admitted to the practice and was unable to use or put weight on his left hind leg.”
“He also had several wounds on his body that looked like burns. X-rays were taken, which showed that the leg was broken in several places.
Federico said Ronnie’s injuries were caused by a low- to medium-energy impact, suggesting the poor pup suffered “a blast from the train.”
“He could also have been injured if he jumped off the train at the last moment and fell,” he said.
“His other wounds were very similar to burns or abrasions that may have been caused by debris floating off the railroad tracks.”
Federico was concerned about Ronnie’s surgery, given that his injury was days old and his bones were healing in a way that would have made surgery difficult.
Instead of the usual metal plate, the surgeon used an external fixator, a metal frame, to align Ronnie’s bones.
“It was held in place for about 12 weeks,” said Federico. “Ronnie handled it very well.
“He was able to recover at home but only allowed limited leash exercise so he couldn’t run around much as he is quite an energetic dog.”
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