A New Leash on Life.

On our last visit to the city, we tangled with Hurricane Sandy. I guess this trip has been smooth by comparison, but we’ve had a few bumps.

None of our ups and downs compare, however, with the ride of his life a certain Miniature Schnauzer took on the MTA Metro-North line a few days ago.

The Bronxville train platform (image from subwaynut.com)

The Bronxville train platform (image from subwaynut.com)

We had spent a fun afternoon with Angie and her boys up in Bronxville and we were heading back into the city on the 4:45 train into Grand Central Station. We had boarded the train and were walking from car to car searching for seats when we heard a woman shrieking. Not just yelling. This was life-or-death screaming and as we moved forward through the car we saw a sight that I will forever wish to un-see.

For the uninitiated, this is what the inside of the train looks like. (Polloplayer photo)

For the uninitiated, this is what the inside of the train looks like. (Polloplayer photo)

A few feet in front of us, standing at the door of the train was a woman holding one end of a leash and screaming pitiably “Stop the train! Stop the train!” As we discovered later, she had boarded the train at the last minute with her service dog, but in the rush and the crush, she stepped onto the train while her dog was a few feet behind her. The doors closed and the train started down the tracks toward Manhattan.

As we also learned later, the train conductor always checks down the length of the cars before leaving the station, just to make sure everyone’s limbs and briefcases are intact (apparently the odd satchel does get stuck in the doors) but the dog was below his line of sight and was not spotted.

The train gathered speed and must have gone about half a mile before someone, somehow, got the word to the conductor to make an emergency stop. The CE and I stood helplessly a few feet away from the understandably hysterical woman until the train suddenly lurched to a halt and we were thrown backwards, landing (fortunately for us, not so fortunately for the gentleman whose lap I ended up in) against an occupied seat.

Here's what the doors look like. (Polloplayer photo)

Here’s what the doors look like. (Polloplayer photo)

There was a collective hush as the train settled to a stop and everyone waited for the doors to open. I tried to move forward to go toward the woman as she stood sobbing at the door, but the CE pulled me back. He was certain that when the doors opened all we would see would be the bloody mangled corpse of the dog and was trying to shield me from the sight.

But in a New York minute, everything can change, and we were all greeted by the most astonishing furry miracle we could imagine: the dog, who had been suspended from the moving train for what seemed an eternity but was probably just a few minutes, stepped blithely into the train and was quickly scooped into the arms of his owner.

The happiest of endings: Mr. B survives his wild ride

The happiest of endings: Mr. B survives his wild ride

The conductor of the train told us that in his twenty-two year career he had never seen anything like it.

I’m so glad that, after weeping for ten minutes, I had the presence of mind to get a photo of this brave little dog and his very, very grateful owner. The dog never even trembled, just gave himself a shake and settled contentedly into his mistress’ lap for the remainder of the ride. “Keep calm and carry on”, he seemed to be thinking.

His name, I was told, is Mr. B. But I will forever think of him as Lucky.

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
This entry was posted in Animal/Vegetable/Mineral, New York city, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A New Leash on Life.

  1. dizzyguy says:

    This was a very emotional experience for everyone in that car of the train. I did not see how the dog could survive, probably being crushed between the train and the concrete platform, so was prepared for this poor woman to see a grisly sight as the doors were finally opened. But No! Mr. B. lives on! It was truly a miraculous survival story that affected everyone who saw it. Such grief and anguish turned suddenly into celebration. I will never forget it.

  2. Phyllis says:

    Wherever animal lovers go it seems miracles happen. Your two doggies are safe and promise not to ride a train.

  3. tdevir says:

    This is my worst nightmare! I always thought about this situation when I lived in NYC… And I also feared the same thing when people would pile into an elevator…
    So glad this story had a happy ending!

  4. Ang says:

    Astonishing!!!! What a miracle.

  5. Mrs. G says:

    Wow. Makes me teary just reading about it. I am so happy for Mr. B and his owner.

  6. pollo amigo says:

    I cannot even imagine what you and everyone on the train — particularly the dog’s owner — must have felt during this time! A miracle indeed!

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