A dog hit by an 80mph express train has miraculously recovered after three operations, £14,000 of vets’ bills and hundreds of SWIMMING lessons.
Tyler, a five-year-old Gordon Setter, was left with a smashed pelvis, broken back leg and shattered toes after he amazingly survived when he was hit by the non-stop Stansted train.
Owners Leanne Hill, 42 and husband Andy, 43, originally thought Tyler would have to be put down because of his extensive injuries.
But 2ft tall Tyler has stunned everyone and now against all the odds three years after the accident he is walking and wagging his tail again.
“It’s an absolute miracle he survived the accident. When a railway worker said he had been hit we were told we may never even find his remains,” said Leanne.
“He is a wonderful dog and he has been through so much to get to this stage.
“It has been hard work for all of us but it is amazing to see him back to his old self and running around again.”
Tyler and his sister Billie, who were bought by the Hills when they were five months old, were being walked by Andy’s sister when the accident happened at Cheshunt station in May 2007.
“They had always been quite mischievous and did sometimes wander off and if they smelt a pheasant there was no stopping them, but we’d never had any problems,” said Leanne.
“That morning we were recovering at home after our holiday when we suddenly got a phone call at 7am from the station master saying he had Billie in his office but our other dog had been hit.
“Andy raced to the station and was told he probably wouldn’t find Tyler but he walked up and down the line and suddenly spotted him on the sidings.”
Tyler had been shunted off the track by the high speed train. He was conscious but his back end was floppy and his pelvis had detached from his spine. Andy took him to the local vet, where he was assessed and x-rayed.
“We were both numb with shock and really didn’t think he would make it,” said Leanne, from Waltham Abbey, Essex.
“We were told that if the train had been going slower he would have been killed but the sheer speed meant he was pushed aside.”
After five days of intensive care Tyler was transferred to a vet’s in nearby Hendon and given an operation to screw his pelvis back onto his spine. A couple of days later he had another operation to fix his left leg which was badly broken, then he was given a third operation to pin his broken toes on his other leg. The following week Tyler came home and Leanne spent the next four months sleeping downstairs next to him.
“You couldn’t leave him, he was in a lot of pain and if he needed to go in the garden I had to sort of hoist him up with a towel,” added Leanne, who has a five-year-old daughter Florence.
“It was great to have him home, but it was touch-and-go. He got so many infections and he lost a lot of weight.
“There were lots of times when we wondered if we had done the right thing or if we should have had him put down.”
Leanne decided to enlist the help of veterinary nurse Jo Wimpenny, who co-owns the Animal Rehabilitation Centre in Nasty, Herts, and was advised to take Tyler swimming.
“I’ve seen some horrendous injuries but none as severe and extensive as Tyler’s,” said Jo. “But he was clearly a fighter and he was not giving up.
“Because of his size he was struggling to move himself around. I knew he wouldn’t make it unless he started moving so I suggested swimming.
“It was a bit risky as his left leg had a metal case around it and he had open wounds.
“He did get infections but we dealt with whatever came along and he was given high strength antibiotics.”
Tyler was soon swimming three times a week.
“I got in the pool with him. It was about getting the muscles working again as he has areas of muscle he wasn’t using properly” she said.
“I don’t think he would be here today if it wasn’t for the hydrotherapy. You can only do so much on land because you have to carry your own body weight.”
About six weeks after starting swimming Tyler was able to put his foot down and after three months he was using it again. Five months after the accident the poorly pup was able to walk around the garden.
“One day he got out of the pool and put his foot down and after that he got stronger and stronger, it was amazing,” added Leanne.
“It was fantastic but I still couldn’t leave him on his own in case he fell over.”
Some months after the accident Tyler also started taking a new nutritional supplement, Yumove, which aids mobility in dogs and has helped bring his tail back to life.
“His tail just hung down to the left before and seemed dead. The vets suggested removing it then we discovered the supplement,” she added.
“Within a few weeks he was wagging his tail again.”
Over the last three years Tyler has continued to have swimming lessons at least once a week for half an hour each time and he will need to swim for the rest of his life.
Jo added: “Tyler is outstanding, he shouldn’t be here really.”
Leanne and Andy have now spent £14,000 on Tyler’s vets’s bills and rehabilitation, including the swimming and nutritional supplement.
“We were insured up to £7,000 but we’ve had to find the rest of the money,” said Leanne.
“People think we are mad but it has all been worth it. He’s absolutely fantastic.
“He is back to his old self now. He looks a little wonky but from a distance you would never know.”