The Rip Van Wrinkler, Volume XVI, Issue 2, May 2012

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Ch. Osennji Tibouchina of Apu, in 1997, having crated himself.

(1) ALWAYS wear your seatbelt, and

(2) ALWAYS travel with critters in crates.

 by Denise Como

To respond to everyone's questions and concerns: yes, I dumped my big van in a ditch Monday during a mini-blizzard on the way home from a vet appt. I'm fine, just banged up, Willow is fine, but still giving me nasty looks, the van is not so fine, but is repairable. Important lessons: (1) ALWAYS wear your seatbelt, and (2) ALWAYS travel with critters in crates.

Willow's crate eventually ended up behind my head, but she didn't get slammed around. A very nice man checked on me, then got her crate out of the van through the back door, covered the whole thing with a blanket, then took her back to the vet clinic for safe keeping. He said he wouldn't take her out of the crate, so there was no chance she could get loose. I definitely owe the guy a dinner.

Karen Christensen - Glad to hear it ended reasonably well I use motorcycle straps to hold the crates forward in the back of the Element. I have to use bungees to hold them back because the hold-down eyes in the back are too small for the straps. But the straps are better because of the quick release.


Sue Schulz - Yes, crates, vehicles, seatbelts and storms = safer ride, said Cubby and I when the willow tree fell on my van, breaking out all the windows and squashing the roof years ago during straight winds and blinding thunder and lightening storm. Result? Shaken up me and a happy but wet puppy safely in his crate surrounded by broken glass. Denise, so happy to hear you are all safe. Thankful for the kind acts of strangers!

Ian wants to go into the crate in my car, always.

Lisa Voss photo - Our van after being rear ended in July 2011. You can see a concerned but unharmed Rio in her crate through the hole in the glass.

Previousby published in the Wrinkler, Volume 4, Issue 3, August 2000

Crates are Worth their Weight in Gold
by Suzanne Schulz

I love to bring Hooch, a Blue Tick Hound mix, and Dotti and Cubby, both Basenjis, along in the car whenever I can.  They love to go on errands, but even more they love to go with me to visit their friends at the group homes I work at.  Sometimes all three go, and sometimes just one.  Hooch and Cubby always ride in their crates.  Dotti usually does, but she loves to ride shotgun, so she often has the view from the passenger's side of the van.  After a recent experience, I do believe that Dotti will be riding looking at the passing view from the safety of her crate.

On this particular day, Cubby and I were going to visit a group home.  It looked like a storm was approaching, so I figured Dotti would rather stay home curled up in her spot on the couch.  Hooch had already nestled in his dog house.  We had been getting rain almost everyday, so I was not feeling the least bit uneasy of the approaching dark clouds.  I put Cubby in his crate (actually Hooch's crate because it is bigger and he likes the room to play) and off we went.  I stopped along the way to pick up our mail at the post office and to put a few bucks of gas in the van.  We went on our merry way.  About ten miles into our trip the clouds looked very strange - very black with a yellowish tint to them.  All of a sudden the wind picked up and the rain fell from the sky with such force that I could no longer see anything in front of us.  There was a car ahead of me that kept stopping.  I kept coming upon it - I was afraid I was going to hit him, or that someone would hit me from behind.  To my right I saw a driveway, so I pulled off the road, to be safe.....or so I thought.  We sat on the side of the road for about 30 seconds when I heard a loud noise.

I blinked, and when I looked around I realized that an entire Weeping Willow tree had crashed on top of my van.  I looked in the rear view mirror and saw my rear window was gone - smashed into a million pieces.  Then I thought of Cubby!  I climbed over my seat and went to the back of my van, afraid to look in his crate.  I yelled his name in a panic on my way back to him.  When I got to him there he was, sitting quietly in the middle o his crate getting soaked by the hurricane like rains, looking softly at me as if to say, "Mommy, calm down and get me out of here.  I would like a warm blanket and a biscuit, please".

Cubby had glass all around his crate and in his crate as well.  Luckily, he did not move at all, and he stayed still as I turned his crate around so the door was facing me instead of the back of the van.  I picked up his leash and shook broken glass off of it, opened his crate door, picked him up, and brought him safely to my lap.  I put his leash on his collar, climbed back up around to my seat, and hugged and kissed him.  Thankfully, not one piece of glass or one limb of the tree touched his beautiful, trusting little self.  As he sat on my lap, and after about 50 cars passed by without stopping, I began to cry.  I was so grateful that neither of us was hurt, but I was also scared because I was not sure how long the van was going to be safe from the burden to the weight of the tree.  Finally, two kind people stopped and helped to lift branches off the door so we could get out.

Cubby never complained once and he never seemed fearful.  The State Trooper said how lucky we were.  The Department of Transportation sawed the tree off the car, and the man said how lucky we were.  We were able to drive the van home (it just needed to have a new rear window and wiper put on - thank goodness for full glass coverage!).  There are a few dents on the roof - battle scars to remind us of the moment.  I shook all the glass out of Cubby's crate and put clean blankets in it.  I put Cubby back in his crate for the ride home.  Cubby still did not complain, for at a little over 4 1/2 months old I though he might be a bit afraid to ride in the crate right away, especially since he was still getting a bit wet.  Not Cubby; he still loves to ride anywhere, anyplace, anytime!  When we got home I wrapped him in a warm blanket and he enjoyed a biscuit, please!

The moral of the story?  No matter what the temptation or how short the ride, have your dogs ride in their crates! 

I am sure that Cubby would have been injured, maimed or killed if he was not in a crate.  He could have been cut by glass.  He could have been hit by the tree limbs that came through the window.  He could have gotten out of the shattered window and been out in the storm, etc..........But because he was in his crate this horrible, scary event to me was nothing more than just another ride in the car for him.  Thank goodness! 


Baby Cubby, January 2001

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