Nearly one week after she was struck by an Amtrak train, Molly the pit bull is hopping happily around on her remaining three legs and licking every human face her tongue can reach.
"People can't believe she's the same dog who was hit last week by a train," says Bailey Deacon, communications director for the Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter, Inc -- commonly known as BARCS -- where Molly is recuperating.
Molly's ordeal began Wednesday night, when the stray darted into an Amtrak tunnel in Baltimore and into the path of an oncoming train.
"The train conductor saw her run into the tunnel to his horror," Deacon says. "He knew he could not stop the train. There was absolutely nothing he could do."
Amtrak Police Officer Kevin McMullen, who works with service dogs, climbed down onto the track to try to help the frightened and bloody animal.
"Molly's left hind leg had been cut completely off all the way to her hip," Deacon says. "She had severed an artery, and she had lost more than half of her blood. She lost the end of her tail, and she had very large lacerations on her face and her side. It's a miracle she survived."
The pup sensed that McMullen was trying to help her.
"He picked her up in his arms," Deacon says. "As soon as he got her off the tracks, she began licking his face. She's such a sweet dog."
Molly was taken to BARCS. The staff immediately scheduled the dog for surgery the following morning, even though the medical procedure was extremely expensive and there was a significant risk that Molly would die on the operating table.
"She had fought so much that we had to give her a chance," Deacon says. "As soon as we got her to the ER, she was trying to kiss everybody."
Since then, Molly, who is estimated to be between 1 and 2 years old, has been living with a BARCS staff member who is monitoring her condition around-the-clock. In addition to her injuries, Molly is undernourished. Veterinarians would like to see her put six to eight pounds on her 32-pound frame, but say that the Molly is amazingly resilient.
"She's standing on her own," Deacon says. "Even though she's supposed to be resting, you can't keep this girl from walking. Her favorite thing in the world is to be held like a baby."
As Molly has healed, the staff made a surprising discovery -- a dog who appeared to be chocolate brown in the photographs originally posted on the shelter's Facebook page in reality was just dirty.
"She's a beautiful, petite white dog with a pink nose," Deacon says.
Donations have been pouring in. Deacon declined to reveal the total that BARCS has received, but said that the contributions are enough to cover not only the cost of Molly's operation, but also the emergency surgeries of four other dogs who also arrived badly wounded at the shelter last week.
In addition, BARCS has received a few dozen inquiries from pet lovers from around the U.S. who are interested in adopting Molly, though Deacon says it will be several weeks before the dog is ready to go to her new home.
As Deacon put it: "As horrible as it was for Molly to get hit by a train, it could be the best thing that's happened to her."