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Shih-Tzu Struck by Commuter Rail and Critically Injured Recovering at MSPCA

A severely injured young Shih-Tzu mix dog is lucky to be alive after she was struck by a Massachusetts commuter line train Sept. 15 and rushed to the MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center by a maintenance worker who found her lying motionless on the rails between the Forest Hills and Roslindale Village stops.

Charlie is recovering at the MSPCA but will need weeks of convalescence before she's adopted
Charlie is recovering at the MSPCA but will need weeks of convalescence before she\’s adopted

The 1-year-old dog arrived “in pieces,” according to the medical staff who evaluated her. “It’s just astounding this dog survived,” said Dr. Virginia Sinnott of Angell’s Emergency and Critical Care Unit. “Her left hind leg was severed above the knee—the good Samaritan brought the leg in along with the dog—and the nerves, arteries and veins were severed along with it.”

“She absolutely would have bled to death within hours had she not been brought in so quickly,” said Dr. Sinnott. The dog—whom staffers have since named “Charlie”—was in severe shock, suffered pelvic fractures and lost nearly 40 percent of her total blood volume.

Charlie had no identification tags and, as of today’s expiration of the city’s mandatory seven-day stray dog hold, no one has claimed her. The good Samaritan who brought her to the MSPCA said he was part of a maintenance crew performing repairs on the tracks at the time and had no idea how she could have gotten so close to the trains.

Blood Transfusions, Surgery and a Promising Prognosis
Dr. Sue Casale of Angell’s surgery team performed a delicate operation last Friday to amputate the remaining portion of Charlie’s severed leg as well as heavily damaged pieces of the pelvis to which the leg was once attached. Charlie also required two blood transfusions due to excessive blood loss.

Charlie’s surgery and attendant medical bills have surged to $6,000, which has been covered by the MSPCA’s Pet Care Assistance program. Pet Care Assistance, in addition to supporting other MSPCA programs, provides financial aid to families whose animals need emergency, intermediate and critical care at Angell. Readers who would like to donate to Pet Care Assistance can navigate to

Charlie is recovering now in a foster home and the adoption center team is evaluating would-be adopters. Anyone interested in adopted Charlie can contact the MSPCA’s Boston adoption center directly at