Words by Zackary Rakisits
My wife (Becky) and I were in Bishop, a town in the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains – an area we try to visit several times a year. We were traveling with our one-year-old birdog Diesel, a Bracco Italiano who’s home on the road has been a G1™ Large dog crate since he was a pup. We usually come for the hunting, hiking, and fly fishing, but this time around we were in town to attend a California Waterfowl Association dinner. The afternoon of the fundraiser the three of us took off on a scouting trout to Owens River and ended up getting our Dodge RAM 2500 stuck in the snow.
The situation lead to one of the scariest moments I’ve had.
The truck was up to its frame rails in snow, so we called for reinforcement from a local friend and hit the river for some fishing while we waited for the backup. After several hours of failed attempts and a couple snapped straps, we ran out of time. The fundraiser was nearing and the truck was still stuck, so we caught a ride back in town and decided to deal with the situation the following morning.
The next day we spent 7 hours on site digging and jacking the truck to one wheel at a time before finally freeing it. Pretty frustrating. As soon as I could back up the vehicle and find some pavement, I pulled over to the side of the road and walked over to see if our friends wanted a late lunch after all that work, leaving Becky and Diesel in the Dodge.
When I was about 20 paces away from my truck, I heard what sounded like an explosion behind me. In seconds, a Nissan Pathfinder going over 70mph had lost control and ran straight into our stationary truck. When I turned, I saw our vehicle being thrown more than 15 feet away from where I had parked it. My wife and dog were inside. The SUV that had barreled down on our truck landed about 400 feet from the impact.
It was one of the loudest and most intense sounds I’ve ever experienced and it was terrifying. I could hear Becky screaming in horror as I sprinted to the truck – she was in shock, and said her first thought was that I was pinned between the truck and the SUV. Fortunately, she still had her seatbelt on and was okay.
We could also hear Diesel in his large dog crate back there crying. As soon as I knew Becky had no bodily harm, we went to grab him.
The Gunner kennel, which was tied down to the bed with tie-down straps, never moved and Diesel was safe inside. He jumped all over us, barking and licking as soon as we opened the door. He was scared but didn’t seem to have any physical damage beyond that. Without the dog kennel, I truly don’t even want to imagine what would have happened.
Even though our big RAM 2500 crew cab was deemed a total loss after being struck by an SUV going over 70 MPH, our Large Gunner Kennels never received a scratch.
“If Diesel had been loose in the car – or in another crate back there in the bed – I don’t believe he would still be with us. I would never want Diesel traveling in any other dog box, and no dog of mine will ever ride in anything else. Gunner has surpassed any and all expectations we had. Thank you.”
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