Words by Ben Boehmig | As told by GUNNER
“I suffered a broken collarbone, a couple of broken ribs, and a bruised lung. I was taken by ambulance to a local hospital and life flighted to Boise where I stayed in the hospital for about two days. Beau escaped the wreck completely unscathed.
I only bought my GUNNER about a month before the crash, I shudder to think what the alternative outcome would have been.”
I was finishing up a work trip in White Salmon, WA, just north of the Columbia River Gorge. I had a hunting trip planned with some buddies in the Southeast that I was hell-bent on making it back for, but there was only one problem – I wanted my puppy Beau on the hunt with me, but logic (and common courtesy) told me there was no way in hell a 9-month-old puppy was getting on a plane. So we hit the road for the cross-country trip. I had every intention of making it back to Atlanta within a few days. Turns out Mother Nature had other plans.
When I left White Salmon the weather was turning gnarly but it was still manageable, I’ve always been a confident driver in inclement weather. However, about 4 hours into my drive near Baker City, OR, the weather had evolved into full-blown blizzard conditions.
It was pretty late at this point in a very rural part of Oregon when I hit the black ice. There weren't any feeble attempts at regaining control or fishtailing, it was just pure panic.
The ice forced the back of my Tundra to swing left which caused me to swerve off the road. When I hit the gravel on the shoulder, my truck launched before landing on the roof and rolling 8-10 more times.
The impact from the first roll ripped my topper completely off, it peeled back like a tuna can.
Because Beau and I had been traveling for weeks prior, I had everything but the kitchen sink packed in the back of my truck. His kennel was strapped down back there with GUNNER tie-down straps, and the only thing left in that bed when the truck landed upright. About 300 shotgun shells and 50 pounds of dog food weren’t so lucky…
When we came to a stop and I was able to get my wits about me, I tried calling for help. The terrifying realization began to set in that I was in a blizzard, not easily spotted from the road, and badly injured.
I had to get up to the main road if I had any hope of saving myself or Beau. I had called to him when I was scrambling up the bank but didn’t hear or see anything. I knew the odds of him surviving the crash were very slim, I told myself “he’s either alive or he’s not." My priority had to be getting help for both of us.
I probably looked like something out of a horror movie when I made it up to the road. I was covered in blood, in the middle of nowhere, trying to wave down cars.
A few drove by but didn’t stop (could I blame them?) until a man in a truck pulled a u-turn after noticing all of my gear strewn across the road. He asked if I was alright and upon quickly realizing I wasn’t, got out to help. Before anything else, my first request was that he check on Beau.
I braced for the impact of the news but all he said was “He’s good, man! He’s wagging his tail!” I couldn’t believe it.
I suffered a broken collarbone, a couple of broken ribs, and a bruised lung. I was taken by ambulance to a local hospital and life flighted to Boise where I stayed in the hospital for about two days.
Beau escaped the wreck completely unscathed.
While I was taken to the hospital, the officer who responded to the crash took Beau to a local animal clinic to be checked out. Not only was he 100% physically fine, he wasn’t confused or in bad spirits at all. It’s just mind blowing.
When I had a chance to inspect the kennel after the crash, I was floored to find it had only one scratch on it after taking the brunt of the impact. My kennel was strapped down with GUNNER’s straps and I always, always do the secondary lock.
Even with all that considered, the kennel was the tallest thing in the bed of my truck so once the topper ripped off it was absorbing the full weight of the roll. This thing is the definition of “over-engineered” and I know for a fact that it saved Beau’s life.
After the wreck I posted an IG story about the wreck and that Beau was with me. I had about 100 people reply asking if we were both okay (many of who are bird dog owners themselves), fearing the worst after seeing images from the crash. I replied to each saying that GUNNER is 100% worth the money and was the only reason Beau was alive.
I only bought my GUNNER about a month before the crash, I shudder to think what the alternative outcome would have been.
The testimonials are the reason why I pulled the trigger. If my story can save just one dog’s life, it’s worth it. I’ll never own another kennel.
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