Posts Tagged ‘accidents’

This is the third in a series of stories shared by those who have been in accidents while traveling with their dogs. The goal of this series is to share anecdotes that may help others determine the safest travel options for animals in vehicles.

Have a story yourself? Four Paw Drive wants them all, regardless of the accident’s severity!  Send them to our email address:

Stories 7&8 from Ashlee

I drove an older (’97) boxy body style Jeep Cherokee. I was hit by a teen driver running a red light at approx. 45 mph. I had a second to try to avoid being hit and turned away from the oncoming car as far as I could, so he hit the driver’s side front corner of my jeep – and basically sheared off the front of the jeep from the wheel’s forward. That night I placed my 8yo 45lbs mix breed in the front seat like I always did with him, as I backed out of the driveway I had a weird feeling and stopped and put him in the back in my larger breed dog’s crate. I am so thankful that I did. The crate he was in was too big for him, by quite a bit. He was thrown into the side of the crate in the crash. His injuries consisted of basically severe whiplash with extreme neck and back pain, he didn’t sleep for 2 days, he couldn’t get comfortable in any position. Finally, a combo of pain meds, muscle relaxers and steroids started to make progress. He made a full recovery, but it took several weeks.

My second accident was also in an older boxy body style Jeep Cherokee (’00). I was rear-ended by a mini-van accelerating to get through a yellow light that I stopped for. My dogs were not in this accident. The back hatch door was caved in and unable to be opened. My crates were set up in the back of the jeep with the doors opening out to the hatch door. The crates are strapped in and set back from the hatch door by about 8 inches. The crates were undisturbed. In anticipation of an event like this I keep a set of bolt cutters that are big enough to cut open my crates tucked in between the bucket seats in the front seat, so that either the driver or passenger can access the cutters easily. I have since upgraded the wire crates to the ones that have doors on both ends, but I still keep the cutters in the car.

Story 9from Erin, Four Paw Drive’s blogger

In August, I was returning home from a vet visit with my foster dog, Laurel, in her wire crate in the second row of my Impreza. I stopped at a light and as the light turned green I was rear ended by an SUV who didn’t even hit the brakes. The SUV ended up deciding to make the accident a hit and run unfortunately, so I don’t have any info on how fast they were going, but it was hard enough to fling all the stuff on the front seat onto the floorboard and my foster dog into the side of her crate.

The SUV’s bumper over-rode the Impreza’s, so there was nothing between the SUV and my rear crate but the hatch. The rear crate suffered a small dent in the corner, but no other damage.  Laurel and I both were fine, just slight soreness the next day, but the impact jammed my rear hatch shut and totaled my car. We were only 4 miles from home!

This is the second in a series of stories shared by those who have been in accidents while traveling with their dogs. The goal of this series is to share anecdotes that may help others determine the safest travel options for animals in vehicles.

Have a story yourself? Four Paw Drive wants them all, regardless of the accident’s severity!  Send them to our email address:

Story 4  from Laura Gabbard

I drive a mini van. I was going 75 mph on a interstate at night and out of no where a deer darted out. I hit him head on. The highway patrolman estimated him to weigh in at about 200 lbs. I was traveling to a dog show with three papillons. They were each in old style deluxe varikennels. All bungee-d down in the center part of the van. While everything flew forward from the back, the crates did not move ! The tow truck guy found a piece of antler in my engine that was about 8 inches long. The dogs were all fine. I was banged up and bruised, but fine. I got the van back 7 weeks later … It was never the same.

Story 5 from Leaning Tree BCs

We hit a bull standing in the road broadside at 60mph after coming over a little rise in the road in the dark. When our headlights revealed him it was too late to even hit the brakes.

We had three of our best dogs in older style heavy plastic airline crates in the bed of our Dodge Ram 2500 with a topper. I believe we were lucky to not have them strapped down; we have a well secured topper and also to have the doors facing the back. All dogs were fine, though there were cracks in two of the crates. It was like hitting a brick wall. I don’t believe that standard wire crates strapped down would have held the dogs and strongly feel that they would have been pitched through the wire, and I also wonder if the plastic crates would have withstood the impact if they had been strapped down.

We also had a pup sleeping on the console between us, I found him on the floor limp as a noodle but fine; rerunning the events in my head, I believe that I put my left arm over him which would have slowed him when we hit.  Regardless, due to everyone being safe, we wouldn’t want to change a thing. It could have been so different if we had tried to stop or tried to avoid the bull – the outcome could have been so different.

Story 6 from Angelica Steinker (

About ten years ago, I was on my way to an agility trial on a Friday evening when a drunk driver rear ended me. A big SUV had jumped out of the lane ahead of me and suddenly I saw all the break lights were on. I did not know if the cars were stopped or slowing, so I guessed and slowed down and *BAM* that is when I was rear ended. I was in a Toyota 4Runner and was pushed over two lanes of traffic, rear ended again, and then launched into the median where I rolled three times.

My BC Nicki was in a soft crate. My BC Stevie was in a plastic crate. All my luggage landed on top of Nicki and collapsed the crate, also detaching the water bucket attached to the inside of the crate.

Stevie and Nicki were both alive, and while I was strapped to a board, the rescue people put them in the plastic crate together. The worst part was that they then proceeded to tell me that my dogs were going to go to animal services! Stevie is dog reactive so I was literally freaking out that they would kill my dog. Before I was transported, they refused to let me see my dogs and I was not able to touch them because I was strapped to a board. At the time, I was still married and my now ex-husband raced on the median past everyone to get to the dogs, arriving after I had already been transported.

When I got home from the hospital, Nicki was not putting weight on her left hind. I thought she tore her ACL. My vet came by a few hours later and she was weight bearing; my vet could not find anything. Years later, I figured her subsequent training challenges HAD to be a physical problem. This was finally confirmed when a vet took an xray of her left hind and it showed calcification of the injury. What had actually happened during the accident, was that presumably her leg got caught in the water bucket or the luggage that fell on her and tore her calf muscle off the back of her knee. The surgeon explained that this would not have shown on xray and so my vet could not have known. It only showed up once it was an old injury because of the calcification. He also explained that their was no surgery to repair this injury.

Stevie has had no problems physically that I am aware of as a result of the accident, but he did have PTSD. He was afraid of the car and being in a crate, so I had to do some counter conditioning. To this day he does not like the car but tolerates it.

I still wish i had not put Nicki in that soft crate. Please share this information so it can help other dogs. At the time, I could not logistically fit two hard crates and the luggage so I just slipped in a soft crate….

Another wreck this past weekend again brought the message home that those of us who travel with dogs need to be aware of many, many factors when it comes to keeping us and our animals safe.

I’ve seen several people who have been following the story of Elicia Calhoun and her dogs and their accident in the AZ desert ask for more information about how the dogs were traveling (restraint type, arrangement, etc.) and I myself have wondered the same about other reported accidents where dogs were involved.

Given that, I would like to take this opportunity to specifically ask for anyone who has been in an accident with their dogs in their vehicle to share details, no matter how minor the accident was, so that Four Paw Drive can help others learn what works and what doesn’t, and in the process help each other make road travel with pets safer. Information can be emailed to the blog at

Any and ALL information will be helpful to others and I’m happy to make details shared with me anonymous if requested in order to spread this information far and wide. Let’s take tragedy and turn it into something that helps others!