Lost dog reunited with his owner by LIRR crew that found him on tracks

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This very good boy turned out to also be a very lucky boy.

A lost dog and his Suffolk County building contractor owner were reunited after a few nervous hours this week — when the crew of a Long Island Rail Road train rescued the pup from some tracks in the Hamptons.

The 8-year-old English bulldog, named Sampson, scampered away while his owner, Mike Francow, was eating lunch in a park in East Hampton Tuesday.

The construction worker searched for the dog, thinking it had run onto some railroad tracks, but held out hope he would soon turn up.

“He’s the type of dog that always returns,” he told The Post Thursday. “He would usually come back to my van.”

A “distraught” Francow, however, eventually had to get back to work, and left the park without finding his pet.

Unbeknownst to him, however, Sampson’s dangerous jaunt onto some train tracks took a lucky turn — as the pup had become fast friends with the crew of the 10:10 a.m. Montauk-bound LIRR train out of Jamaica.

Mike Francow had lost his English bulldog Sampson while eating lunch in a park in East Hampton.
Mike Francow had lost his English bulldog Sampson while eating lunch in a park in East Hampton.
Mike Frankow Sampson

Engineer Christian Beck scooped up the pooch after spotting him hanging next to the tracks east of Southampton station at around 12:10 p.m., he told The Post.

“As a dog lover, it’s like my worst fear to hit a dog,” Beck said. “Luckily it was a section of track where the max speed you can go is only like 40 miles an hour. It was enough time to react and slow the train.”

Beck and assistant conductor Vinny Fragale got off and beckoned Sampson their way. The dog sought cover in the shadow of the train’s engine.

Assistant conductor Vinny Fragale says Sampson “just wanted to be pet.”
Assistant conductor Vinny Fragale says Sampson “just wanted to be pet.”
LIRR

“I could tell, like, ‘Oh he’s been out for a while, he just wants some shade,” Beck said.

“I was thinking about like my own dog, like, you know, if he was left out. Or he had gotten out somewhere else, I’d be totally scared.”

Beck and his coworkers brought Sampson onto the train, gave him water and continued on their way to Montauk, where they arrived on-time at 12:54 p.m.

Engineer Christian Beck found Sampson after spotting him hanging next to the tracks east of Southampton station.
Engineer Christian Beck found Sampson after spotting him hanging next to the tracks east of Southampton station.
LIRR

“He started to get some water in him and it was like immediately his personality came out,” Fragale said. “He just wanted to be pet.”

In Montauk, conductor Mike Stabile furiously posted Sampson’s photo onto LIRR worker Facebook groups, asking colleagues to spread the word.

Meanwhile, Sampson got comfy — settling in with the crew until they made contact about 20 minutes later with Francow, who saw the posting on the social media site after a co-worker sent him a link.

Engineer Christian Beck says the LIRR crew “enough time to react and slow the train," to pick up Sampson.
Engineer Christian Beck says the LIRR crew “enough time to react and slow the train” to pick up Sampson.
LIRR

“She just thought it was a lookalike. I was like ‘No, that’s gotta be Sampson,” Francow recalled to The Post.

“He loves to ride, so I’m sure when the train pulled up and they opened the door he was like, ‘Sure, this is great.’”

Fragale, meanwhile, said they made great friends with Sampson.

“He followed me around the whole day,” the railroad man said. “When I was on the couch in the breakroom, he actually took a nap right in front of me. He just hung out.”

Assistant conductor Vinny Fragale says Sampson “followed me around the whole day," on the LIRR train.
Assistant conductor Vinny Fragale says Sampson “followed me around the whole day,” on the LIRR train.
LIRR

A relieved Francow retrieved Sampson when the train returned to Bridgehampton a few hours later.

He plans to put a tag on the dog to make sure he doesn’t lose him again.

“Those are some really special people to do that and take care of him,” he said.

Sampson could have been left for dead, his rescuers said.

Assistant conductor Vinny Fragale tends to Sampson on the train ride back to Bridgehampton, NY.
Assistant conductor Vinny Fragale tends to Sampson on the train ride back to Bridgehampton, NY.
LIRR

“It’s very common to hit a deer, but there’s nothing you can really do as the engineer because you can’t stop on a dime,” Beck said. “I was going slow enough, I spotted him and I’m like, ‘I’m not going to take a chance and hit this guy.’”

LIRR President Phil Eng commended the crew for returning Sampson to his owner.

“Our conductors and engineers and other frontline workers are truly compassionate people who take pride in helping their Long Island neighbors,” Eng said in a statement.

Sampson with the LIRR crew of Conductor Mike Stabile (left), train engineer Christian Beck (center), Assistant conductor Vinny Fragale (right).
Sampson with the LIRR crew of conductor Mike Stabile (left), train engineer Christian Beck (center), assistant conductor Vinny Fragale (right).
LIRR

“As a dog owner myself, I am glad that our crew went above and beyond to rescue Sampson and connect him with his owner.”

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