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Keith McCord reportingAn injured dog managed to endure months alone in the bitter cold. The man who rescued her is being recognized by PETA--People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Christmas in Utah is cold, snowy and possibly deadly, especially if one were to become caught in the wilderness for months without food or shelter. Christmas is when train conductor Ken Van Moorhem first caught a glimpse of one such survivor, a lone dog trying to stay alive in the cold.
Van Moorhem says, "Well I first saw Hogan the week of Christmas at a railroad siding called Mentosa."
Hogan is a young dog who somehow survived by drinking water from melted snow and hovering in the darkness of a mile-long railroad tunnel near Wells, Nevada, the tunnel she was named after.
Over the next several months, Van Moorhem and other conductors began seeing Hogan more often. Last month, he decided he had to act. "I just couldn't leave her out there. I mean, she didn't stand a chance, and yet she made it at least five months now for what we're hearing."
A couple of Van Moorhem's co-workers stopped the train one day and picked up the dog. He met them in Wendover. As one would expect, months alone in the wilderness took their toll.
"She had intestinal worms. Her coat and skin was in good shape. She had blown her ACL. Her hip was out of its socket. Her pelvis was broken in two places. Her colon had been ripped loose and was on the wrong side of her body, she had a collapsed lung. She had chewed off her front foot there to get out of a snare trap," Van Moorhem said.
Hogan has had several surgeries to repair her injuries, and there are still more to come, but that hasn't slowed her down. She still jumps and plays and runs as fast as her little legs can carry her, which has made it all worth it to Van Moorhem. "Her will to live is amazing. Her spirits are great. She's a very happy dog."
When Hogan is all healed up, Van Moorhem hopes to find her a happy home. In fact, he already has several candidates.
Hogan's medical bills are quickly adding up; already they total at least $4,000. Van Moorhem has set up an account at Wells Fargo called "Help for Hogan" for anyone who'd like to donate.