Beloved dog found near railroad tunnel dies at 13

Beloved dog found near railroad tunnel dies at 13

(Tonia VanMoorhem)

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SALT LAKE CITY — A local dog famous for surviving a winter in the wilderness died Saturday.

Hogan, who was named after the railroad tunnel near where the dog was found in February 2008, is believed to have been about 13 years old when she was put down, according to owner Ken Van Moorhem. He saw Hogan near the railroad tracks while working as a train conductor and decided to bring her home.

“I’m sure she had a pretty rugged life before we got her. The time in the desert certainly was rough on her, so for her to make it to 13 is really impressive,” he said. “When we brought her in we thought three, maybe five years and we got more than that out of her.”

During the seven years she lived with the Van Moorhem family, Hogan made a big impact on the community. She had a prosthetic leg — veterinarians think she chewed her paw off to escape a snare — and was trained as a therapy dog, paying visits to children at Shriners Hospital who had just lost a limb or were about to lose a limb.

She did a lot more in life than most dogs do.

–Ken Van Moorhem, owner

Hogan also attended fundraising events for pet therapy animals and other local events, in addition to making frequent appearances at the farmers market. The Companion Animal Magazine is publishing a five-part series about the dog’s life.

“She did a lot more in life than most dogs do,” Van Moorhem said.

Putting Hogan down was incredibly difficult for the family, but Van Moorhem said it became obvious in recent weeks that it was time. Hogan, who struggled with chronic health problems from her time in the wilderness, developed a large lump in front of her good lung and was having a difficult time breathing. She also struggled to stand and lost control of bodily functions.

Van Moorhem said the family will receive a necropsy, which may provide insight into the health problems Hogan faced over the years.

“Maybe the vets can learn something, like what to look for or how to treat her issues in the future,” he said. “I guess it was real important to me in the end to not have the death be completely pointless, to at least let the vets and the vet techs get some kind of a learning expansion out of it.”


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