Trigger, a Jack Russell terrier, is a bit of an escape artist. His guardian, OJ Patterson, says “he used to get out of the yard all the time” but, typically, he rarely ventured further than the bike trail behind their home.

On April 11, however, Trigger took a trip OJ jokingly refers to as a “modern day Homeward Bound.”

“My mom has a paranoid theory he was kidnapped due to a mysterious passerby giving Trigger food through our gate,” OJ said. But, somehow, he managed to make it from their home across the freeway from Orinda BART, passed “through Orinda to get to the train, so somebody would have seen him,” and ended up on the BART tracks between Orinda and Layfayette. And that’s when this happened:

Watching BART police lasso a dog that got lost on the tracks. He got run over by a train but is OK! Wow.

OJ says it was theorized that Trigger was dodging (playing with? Jack Russells are CRAZY!) the train until one grazed him, perhaps as he ran under the train. (Did we mention that Jack Russells are nuts?)

trigger.jpgBART police attempt to capture an injured Trigger

When the BART operator realized what had happened, the train was stopped immediately (Our call to BART confirmed that service was briefly stopped to “deal with a situation with an animal”), and the BART police nabbed him and took him to Concord Animal Hospital.

All in all, Trigger was pretty lucky: the only damage he suffered was that his orbital bone went into his eye, which, unfortunately, had to be removed. “It’s apparently not affecting his chipper attitude,” says his guardian, who is currently in school in Arizona and had to hear about all this second-hand, from his mother.

“Originally he suffered from exhaustion, and he was heavily doped up for about a week. I’m anxious about seeing him to see if he lost anything more than an eye and depth perception.”

Perhaps his desire to roam? we asked. “Yeah, hopefully he’ll learn to stay put.”

Mission Mission‘s Allan Hough contributed to this story.

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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