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Hero Update: Train Operator Will Keep “The Little Guy” :)

So a feel-good story is now a feel-great one! Those of you who check in regularly will remember the story of Fred Krause, the Utah...

Maria Goodavage  |  Apr 14th 2010


"The Little Guy" rests comfortably on his hero and new owner, train operator Fred Krause (Photo: Lori Krause)

So a feel-good story is now a feel-great one! Those of you who check in regularly will remember the story of Fred Krause, the Utah Railway Company train operator whose train ran over a little dog not once, but twice, on a recent round trip. When his shift was done, he hopped in his car and drove back to the scene, expecting to find a dead little dog. But he found the Shih Tzu clinging to life, and whisked him off to the emergency vet.

Last I wrote about the kind-hearted engineer, he and his wife, Lori, were nursing the dog back to health, and looking for a good home for him. But you Dogsters are a wise bunch, and predicted they would end up keeping The Little Guy, as they were temporarily calling him. And just this morning, Fred wrote to tell me that they have decided to make him a permanent part of their family.

He sure has bonded to me big time! Fred says. (Hmm, I cant imagine why!) And the name, as dumb as it sounds, is sticking.

Yippee!! Aroo!! That dog is going to be so happy living in such a loving, caring home.

The Little Guy shortly after his visit to the emergency veterinarian on the day he was hit by the train (Photo: Fred and Lori Krause)

It turns out The Little Guy is about 10 years old. He seems to have recovered from his concussion. And most of the medical issues he came with because of his wanderings/negligent care are resolving as well. The bad news is that he is about 90 percent blind. The good news is that the vet said that with the right eyedrops, he will regain about 50 percent of his vision within a few months.

Fred and I have been corresponding since I ran the story. Here are some interesting tidbits from his emails:

This was not The Little Guys first run-in with a train. I talked with another Utah Railway engineer yesterday and after we talked about how huge this story had gotten, he asked me if I wanted to hear the rest of it. Back in August of last year he was the engineer on this particular run. In the same area where I hit the dog, he ran over him as well, along with a stray Chihuahua, and knew that he had hit at least one of them. On the return trip and hour later he saw both dogs dead between the rails. As the train he was operating approached, the Shih Tzu got up and ran off. He stopped the train and tried to catch him, but was unable to do so. I’m sure it was the same dog as he described his colors exactly. (Unfortunately his buddy did not survive the train rolling over them.) Eight months later I come along and bonk him in the head!

Hitting animals is an unavoidable part of the job. I have hit many animals over the 21 years that I have been railroading, and they never survive. The next trip you’ll see the corpse between the rails or off to the side. Unfortunately, there usually nothing you can do to avoid hitting them. Its just one of those things that comes with the job.

Milo, the Krause's longtime Shih Tzu, finds he needs more attention with his new roommate. Here, the Krauses have a little fun with this notion. (Photo: Fred and Lori Krause)

The Little Guy could not have been surviving in the wilderness for long. Lori Krause wanted to find out more about The Little Guys situation before he was hit. She talked to a local animal expert, and reports the following:

First she said that she absolutely does not believe for a SECOND that a Shih Tzu could make it all by himself on his own for any length of time. They just are too domestic for that. I tend to agree. I pointed out that he was horribly overgrown and matted and she said that it is not uncommon for people to bring their Shih Tzu’s and Cocker Spaniels in ONCE a year for a grooming. They keep them outside all the time and have them groomed every spring. Happens all the time.

She said she bet he had a place close by the tracks, with people who just aren’t good dog owners and let him wander, and since he is intact (not for long) he has the wanderlust. However he IS very well behaved in the house and has clearly been someone’s beloved baby before, so we figure that may-be the owner died or was unable to care for the dog, and a family member got stuck with him. And probably didn’t really want him, but it’s mom’s dog, etc. So out he goes with a bowl of food and water, and good luck with that. Makes a lot of sense when you put all the pieces together.

Milo, the Shih-Tzu they already have, is not necessarily thrilled about his new roommate yet. To Milo’s chagrin, The Little Guy has grown very fond of a few of his toys, writes Fred.

The Little Guy sleeps with his tongue hanging out of his mouth. It is soooo cute! says Lori.

It is a very good day for a little dog in Utah.

A happy, sleepy dog on track to recovery -- and a wonderful life (Photo: Fred and Lori Krause)