The number of animal cruelty cases is staggering. Most cases are never reported. So, by the time these poor, defenseless creatures are found, it’s usually too late. Unfortunately, animal neglect is common in urban and rural areas, but many of us are too blind to see it. Fortunately, Michael Ortega and Allen Au weren’t. These two Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway engineers were caught off guard when their dispatcher called. Apparently, there was someone, or rather, something in distress, and it needed their help right away. The only question was, would they get there in time?
Someone had called in to report that a dog was tied to a railcar in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.
The dispatcher immediately reached out to engineers Michael Ortega and Allen Au to let them know. The dog was tied to a flat car, which was often used to haul sheetrock and lumber. It took the men a few minutes to find her. Then they saw the frail puppy tied to a steel beam with a pile of kibble and no water.
“We got off the train and went to get her off of there, and she was just a real happy, friendly pup. You could tell she was real nervous.”
“She was just tied with a short chain,” Ortega explained. “She really couldn’t move or anything and there was food there, but it was all soaked with the rain and she couldn’t really get to it.”
“When I started walking toward her, she turned her back towards me."
"When I got up there and grabbed the chain, she kind of started jumping for joy and happy to see us,” Au said. “She was an excellent little pup. Well mannered. She was hungry, couldn’t wait to eat.”
The engineers named the puppy, Lulu, and gave her all the water and food they had available for her.
The train the pooch was on arrived from Willmar, Minnesota, and was headed to Kansas City, Missouri. This meant that the poor dog had been on the train for about three days. Despite everything that Lulu had been through, she was sweet and affectionate with them.
Ortega was so moved by the dog that he decided that if Au didn’t adopt Lulu, he would.
Ortega decided to check with his wife first. So, he gave her a call, and she agreed to meet up with him the following day to pick Lulu up. As a pet owner, Ortega imagined his own animals in Lulu’s place. It broke his heart.