a 30-car pileup during a winter storm
09-23-204 mins read
A few weeks ago I was involved in a 30+ car pileup, thanks to a weather-related incident on I-70 in Missouri. I’m fine, but more importantly to me my working dachshund Roxie was safe.
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Words by Jody Dean | As Told By Gunner

I attribute her safety to her Gunner G1™ Small crate. I truly believe if she had been in a lesser kennel — or worse, no crate at all — she would have been seriously injured and certainly traumatized. It was very scary. Had anything happened I would’ve been devastated beyond belief; Roxie is a very special dog who has really impacted my life (more on that below).

The ice thing around here is really scary, but people accept it as part of life. What else are you going to do? But I’m a native Californian, so I tend to avoid it… and that was the weird thing about this day: I checked the weather before I left Columbia for St. Louis. It’s about a 112 mile drive, and I was going to meet a friend to do some scent work. 

When I had originally checked the forecast, it said only a 30% chance of flurries. Well, I got to St. Louis and we worked the dogs for a bit and by the time I was heading back home, there was 4 inches of snow on the ground!

I-70 is a notoriously hideous place around here, known for a lot of accidents, so I was very cautious and traveling only about 40MPH on this two-lane highway. Soon enough the car in front of me suddenly started tapping his brakes and turned on emergency flashers and I thought, “Oh great here we go.” I knew what was happening… there were so many bridges around that part, and someone had hit ice. 

Very soon after I could see all the cars in front of me start sliding. If there’s enough ice, there’s really nothing you can do. I counter steered and didn’t brake, but I still slid from lane #2 into lane #1.

I was able to right my GMC Yukon Denali but as soon as I did, I was slammed into by another vehicle on the passenger’s side panel, literally the exact spot where Roxie was riding in her crate.

The car started to spin a bit when I was hit, but I somehow was able to right it. I could see in front of and behind me getting worse and worse. BOTH sides of the highway were getting it. If people made it through the pileup, they kept going – which is what I did. I found a hole and kept riding through, white knuckling the whole way.

I knew that Roxie would be alive and everything, but what I was nervous about was soft tissue damage or traumatization. I was anxious to get out to get a good look at her but there was no exit for a while.

When I was finally able to stop I was totally amazed. My crate was strapped down, it hadn’t moved an inch. Roxie’s body was tight but I knew she wasn’t hurt or even scared. That’s why I wrote, because I was just so thankful. 

Here’s the reason I said Roxie is a special dog– 

I’m a clinical psychologist who retired very early, and she was my foray into working dog competitions about 8 years ago. I rescued Roxie when she was two years old, from a reputable rescue in Orange County, California. Dachshunds are smart but can be train wrecks – she’s a little brat sometimes! – so I started training her right away, She’s 10 years old now, with a Master level in AKC Scent Work, a NW2 level in NACSW K9 Nose Work®, and two AKC Earthdog championships. 

Because of Roxie, I’m now an AKC Earthdog judge and owner of two more working dachshunds.  

Roxie’s also the main character of my children’s book series, “Roxie the Doxie” and “Roxie the Doxie, The New Dog At School.” She inspired me to write the books, to help children through adoption. It centers around a dachshund transitioning from her temporary Foster home to her new “Forever” home, and aims to help children through the often complicated process of adoption. The second book, “Roxie the Doxie, New Dog At School,” focuses on the trials of being the new kid at school.  Roxie really is a fun dog, and she travels to schools to read the book with me.

Note: Jody and Roxie are leading a live reading of “Roxie the Doxie: Finds Her Forever Home” on Facebook Live on Monday, March 30, 2020 at 2PM CST, for kids not in school due to COVID-19.

To round this all out, I’ll tell you why I was led to purchase Gunner in the first place: 

When Roxie got me into these competitions, we started driving 10 hours for one trial to stand out in 19 degree weather, like an idiot, ha!

I started finding myself in weirder road conditions, and the more I traveled the more anxious I became about their safety. I was seeing friends (who also traveled frequently) post about so-and-so in a bad accident, or a dog that was ejected from a car and hit on a freeway, etc.

I’m a data nerd and obviously an invested dog owner, so I started to do my research to back up my next travel purchase. And that’s how I found Gunner. Pretty thankful for that.

Learn more about the Earthdog sport here.

Read more Gunner Save Stories: “A Car Running From The Police Hit Me At 130MPH

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