Adelaide residents have rallied together to rescue a "scared" dog cowering between the wheels of a train as it sought refuge after being hit by car.
On Saturday afternoon a local animal rescue organisation jumped into action after hearing a German Shepherd pup had been hit by a car and was "covered in blood" in the northeast suburb of Salisbury.
Despite volunteers and members of the public attempting to the catch the dog, they were unsuccessful before a train began to travel down the track towards the nine-month-old dog. Thankfully, it worked in their favour.
"The train came along really slow. It was slowing down as it approached the train station and then all of a sudden the dog ran underneath it," Christine Robertson told Yahoo News Australia.
The Director of Lost Pets South Australia explained the dog was trying to hide from her volunteers who aimed to catch it, and were only able to reach the injured dog after crawling underneath the train with help from the "magnificent" train driver.
German Shepherd now in safe hands
It was initially believed the dog had sustained a spinal injury and broken jaw due to its poor mobility and blood-covered state, but upon medical examination the pup only had a few lacerations and abrasions on his paws.
"He was very lucky," Christine said, who shared that despite the dog being "a bit of a love bug" once he had calmed down, no owner has reached out to claim him. Without a microchip either, there is no way for the animal rescuers to reunite the pet with his family.
It is a legal requirement for all dog owners to microchip their pets in South Australia, and the animal rescue organisation is hosting the "biggest microchipping program in southern hemisphere", Christine said. She said there is "no excuse" for the dog not to be microchipped.
The dog, now affectively nicknamed 'Chugga' in reference to the recognisable sounds made by a train, is being cared for by staff at a specialist animal hospital while awaiting word from his owners.
Praise for local community
Salisbury Council praised the local community for coming together and finding an efficient solution amid the chaos on Saturday.
"All the accolades go to the community who rescued the dog from the train before our officer could be onsite," the council spokesperson told Yahoo, after confirming their Compliance Community Officer only took 30 minutes to arrive on the scene once they were notified.
Christine, who was awarded the 2023 South Australian of the Year — Local Hero Award, said she is proud to lead the 60 volunteers who work tirelessly to care for and reunite lost pets with their owners.
“Huge tick for my team — they literally put the call out and within a matter of minutes there were volunteers jumping in cars with leashes," she said, before adding, "Big credit to the team for doing that".
"The more people that understand that the work we do is significant enough to get an Australian of the Year Award, the more help we get from councils and government to keep our programs going", she said.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.