the best crate for your australian shepherd
06-04-185 mins read
Because each Gunner Kennels customer story – and relationship with their dog – is different, we've started to document a few for you. This week's Q&A is with Lori Coleman, a Florida resident whose dog “Deacon” is the unofficial mascot of Clay Humane Society, where she works. Last year, Lori and Deacon were in a car wreck that almost went very, very wrong. Keep reading to learn about their experience.
Customer Testimonials
Dog Stories

Because each Gunner Kennels customer story, and relationship with their dog, is different, we’ve started to document a few for you. This week we’re with Lori Coleman, a Florida resident whose dog Deacon is the unofficial mascot of Clay County Humane Society, where she works. Last year, Lori and Deacon were in a car wreck that almost went very, very wrong. Read about their experience below.

Gunner Kennels Customer: Lori & Deacon

Gunner Kennels Customer: Lori & Deacon

OWNER’S NAME: Lori Coleman

DOG’S NAME: Deacon

DOG’S BREED: Australian Shepherd

DOG’S AGE: 4 

DOG’S WEIGHT: 50 lb.

CITY, STATE: Keystone Heights, Florida

VEHICLE YOU PRIMARILY TRAVEL IN: Honda Odyssey

GUNNER KENNELS PRODUCTS YOU OWN: G1™ IntermediatePerformance Pad

DESCRIBE DEACON IN A FEW WORDS:Loyal, friends with everyone he meets, intuitive (he always knows who needs his attention the most). He’s exactly everything I didn’t know I needed in a dog… 

Q&A With Lori

Lori, it looks like you’ve dedicated your time – if not much of your life’s work – to animals. Can you tell me more about that? 

I work for a local humane society, been here over 22 years. Deacon comes to work with me every day and is the Clay Humane mascot. One of our many responsibilities is to our Pet Therapy teams that visit 6 different nursing homes in our area. We also do Humane Education presentations in the local schools, visit at the libraries, airport, and we’ve just recently been certified as a HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response team, deployed to natural and man made disasters in our southeast region. 

There was something pretty traumatizing that jumpstarted your specific interest in pet travel & product safety research. Can you tell us about that?

Lori's car, immediately following her wreck – as well as Deacon's former crate
Lori’s car, immediately following her wreck – as well as Deacon’s former crate

I was in a car accident in March of 2017. Deacon was with me, riding in his wire crate in the back of my Toyota Sienna minivan. 

A woman in an SUV pulled out in front of me when I was driving down a main highway. I t-boned her vehicle, totaling both it and my own van. 

Deacon was forcibly ejected from the wire kennel (the welds did not hold) and landed in the front seat. At that point he was panicked and loose. Thankfully, my arms were unaffected during the crash and I was able to grab a hold of his collar. I wouldn’t let any of the bystanders open my doors until they got me a leash from the back of the van…it was a scary couple of minutes with them frantic to get me out because my engine would not turn off, and me frantic to secure my dog because there was no way I was letting him get out of the car without a leash on! 

He certainly would have bolted and likely would have been hit by a passing car.

Now that we’re back on the road again, I knew that I needed to keep him safer than I had been previously in that wire crate. I was always apprehensive when passing the crash site (I pass by on the way to and from work every day). 

It weighed heavily on my mind, and I knew I had to do some research. We looked at a lot of different kennels and containment systems. We watched a LOT of videos. And in the end, it was super clear to me that Gunner Kennels were the way to go. I feel SO much better driving down the road knowing that my buddy is safe and secure.

Why are you sharing your story now? 

I’m hoping my experience will prompt people to start making changes in the way they carry their dogs in the car. 

It’s amazing to me, once I started asking around, how many people hadn’t really given much thought to keeping their dog safe in the car. And how many other people, like me, mistakenly believe they ARE doing all they can to keep their pet safe. I’m hoping that people will understand this: I thought this would “never happen to me” either…but it did. Prepare for the unexpected! I had enough sense to ask for that leash because someone else shared their crash story.

After this experience, if you could give one piece of advice to every dog owner, what would it be?

PLEASE consider your pets when you think about car safety! 

They become flying objects and can not only be seriously injured but can also cause injury to others bouncing around during an accident. I thought my dog was “contained” and pretty safe. I was WAY wrong. And he would have been even *more* severely injured had he been loose in the front seat with me at the time of the crash. 

Air bags are NOT designed to be safe for pets. Expect the unexpected and plan for it! Do all you can to keep your pet safe while traveling. 

Do you have other tips for owners who travel with their dog? 

Get a PVC tube and fill it with your pet’s information card/tube/pouch that you can put your dogs information in. I got a 9″ tube which holds all of Deacon’s vaccination records, his and mine emergency contact information, medication information, a pre-designed lost dog flyer, and a slip lead (see an example of Lori’s here).

This can be especially helpful for first responders to know what to do if your pet is injured. I was way anxious because I had to be transported to the hospital and they of course wouldn’t let me take Deacon with me. I refused to leave until they locked him in the back of a police cruiser and assured me that they wouldn’t open the door to anyone but my husband who was on his way to get him.

That’s a good one that most people probably haven’t thought of. Now, more about Deacon…how does he fit into your family?

We rescued Deacon from the shelter when he was a little over a year old. He had been through five different homes before we adopted him. Each one just didn’t know how to handle an active herding dog. He wanted to chase the cats and herd the kids… Now that he has a job, he’s the mellowest couch potato on the planet!    

Where’s your favorite place to travel with Deacon? 

To the agility field where we can play on the obstacle course or anywhere that we’re doing therapy work and I can share the love he has for other people…

Anything else you’d like to add?  

If you don’t have a Gunner Kennel close by to try on for size… here’s what I did: I taped off the interior area of the crate I was interested in. Then I lined it with taller cardboard boxes on three sides (or, as in my case, two cardboard boxes and a recliner, lol!). I asked him to kennel so I could see if he could comfortably settle in that sized area. He fit great, so we ordered that size. Worked like a charm and it’s a perfect fit!

Lori and Deacon
Lori and Deacon
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G1™ KENNEL
Regular price
499
Sale price
499.00
5 Star Crash Tested. The original.
Double-Wall Rotomolded. 2x impact protection.
Lifetime Warranty. All kennels.
American Made. No corners cut. View More Details
Quantity must be 1 or more
Color:Gunmetal
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TIE-DOWN STRAP KIT
Regular price
79
Sale price
79.00

GUNNER strap sets are the only ones that we recommend, and have met each of the brand’s crash test standards. They are the straps that the Center For Pet Safety recommends using when anchoring your crate to your vehicle for 5 Star Crash Test certified safety.

Our new & improved tie-downs are made with an extra-thick custom cam buckle for additional break strength and a synthetic material that ensures you can leave these out 24/7: better guarding against fading and stretching, and perfect for high abrasion environments.

Read why it's important to use GUNNER straps for safe travel.

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Strap Color:Blaze Orange
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PERFORMANCE PAD
Regular price
Starting from
89
Sale price
89.00

This GUNNER tough-skin insert provides a 3/4” pad of cushion for the crate, as well as waterproof comfort for the sporting dog’s tired joints on the ride home.

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GUNNER FAN KIT
Regular price
229
Sale price
229.00

Your dog works hard for you – this fan works hard for your dog. The GUNNER Fan Kit is a high-powered device designed to mount easily to the crate, with a stainless steel mounting rod and custom tensions bolts. Built to provide significant ventilation, especially while kennel is stationary. A durable structure, just like our customers are accustomed to.

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Fan Color:Black
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Regular price
499
Sale price
499.00
blaze-orange
Regular price
79
Sale price
79.00
intermediate_black
Regular price
99
Sale price
99.00
black
Regular price
229
Sale price
229.00
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BM
07/05/2021
Brandon M.
United States United States
  • How would you describe your dog? Gun or Bird Dog
  • What's your primary use of the product? Travel
It’s like an insurance plan….

This is by far the best kennel made. I use mine daily and they take lots of abuse. They never even seem to wear at all. Hose them off with soap and water and they look brand new. I encourage all of my puppy buyers to get them as well. It’s like an insurance plan for your best friend!

GUNNER G1™ KENNEL Review
KT
06/14/2021
Kris T.
United States United States
  • How would you describe your dog? Family or Companion Dog
  • What's your primary use of the product? TravelHomeHome & Travel Equally
Wow, Just Wow

Wow, this kennel is the Yeti of dog kennels! everything about this kennel is first rate. Yes, there are cheaper, but none can compare to a Gunner kennel.

AL
05/31/2021
Alec L.
United States United States
  • How would you describe your dog? Family or Companion Dog
  • What's your primary use of the product? Travel
Amazing travel kennel

This thing is built like a tank. I have no doubt this will protect our little guy if we are ever involved in an accident. We recently completed an 800 mile road trip with him in the crate. It was well worth the money. This was the first time he was calm in the car and not whining. He slept easily during the drive. We felt calm know he was secure and comfortable. Cannot recommend this crate enough!!

AO
05/08/2021
Angus O.
United States United States
  • How would you describe your dog? Family or Companion Dog
  • What's your primary use of the product? Travel
Unlike any other crate I have seen

I purchased two Gunner kennels, a medium and a small, for my pups. Immediately, you understand this is a different level of product compared to what you’ve used before. The construction is fantastic and legitimately heavy duty. I feel so much better knowing I’ve done everything I can to keep my dogs safe in case of a worst case scenario.

PK
03/18/2021
Patrick K.
United States United States
  • How would you describe your dog? Gun or Bird Dog
  • What's your primary use of the product? Travel
Best purchase for my best friends

I’ve been buying cheap kennels for the four years I’ve owned my dogs, none of them seemed to hold up. I’ve wanted a Gunner for a year now, and the more I read stories of how they have saved dogs lives, it made me think of how losing my best friends would damn near **** me. So I made the purchase and will never look back. It is one solid kennel and I will not let the kennel hold me back from traveling farther to hunt anymore. It’s well worth the investment. I’m a firm believer in you get what you pay for, and this will not let anyone down.