"A Drive In The Mountains..."
By Rocky Tapscott
The freezing wind cut through the broken wreck of Emily’s car as she lay there in the pitch black of a moonless night.
Her pet German shepherd Elsa lay by her side, uninjured but confused by what was happening to her friend and master, and unable to help Emily escape from the overturned vehicle where her legs were pinned below the dashboard.
Elsa's dog safety restraint had saved her from serious injury, but Emily had not been so lucky...
The drive in the mountains had started out wonderfully that afternoon as they followed the little used logging trails that criss-crossed this part of the State forest.
They had explored the trails for hours, both in the car and on foot, until the daylight started to fade and it was time to return to their holiday cabin at the foot of the mountain.
The weather was closing in as Emily and Elsa drove carefully down the narrow, twisting trail and pretty soon it was pouring rain, cutting visibility to only 20 or 30 feet.
As the rain got heavier, Emily decided that it was just too dangerous to go any further, so she pulled over to the shoulder of the road to wait out the storm.
The edge of the road looked solid enough, but as she moved further off the trail she felt the car start to skid sideways.
She stood on the brakes hard, but it was too late...
The car just seemed to gracefully slide further and further down the hill, gliding across the grassy field towards a sheer embankment about 50 feet from the roads edge.
No matter what Emily did, she couldn't stop the car sliding uncontrollably down the hill towards the sheer drop she couldn't even see.
Suddenly the ground finally gave way beneath them and to Emily’s horror, they dropped out of control into the steep gully below.
How Would You Feel To Be Totally Alone?
Emily’s car came to rest at the bottom of the canyon, upside down, in the driving rain.
Initially knocked unconscious, she came too long enough to see Elsa, still restrained by her safety harness, trying frantically to get to her.
Emily reached up and unfastened Elsa’s safety restraint, and her beloved dog moved closer, as if to shield her from the freezing cold of the storm outside and comfort her injured friend.
Emily drifted in and out of consciousness as the night wore on and Elsa became more and more agitated at her masters situation.
After trying for several hours to free herself, Emily realized that if she didn’t get help soon she might not survive the night.
She was so glad that her beloved dog was uninjured. The simple act of clipping on her dog's safety restraint at the start of the trip down the mountain had saved Elsa from serious injury…and now this foresight was going to play a major role in saving Emily’s life as well.
Emily looked deep into Elsa’s eyes and said, “Go find help Elsa. Go and find somebody to help me girl…”
Elsa looked at Emily with that sideways glance that shepherds have and instinctively knew what she had to do.
She carefully picked her way back up the steep embankment to the top of the hill from where they had come.
The road was lightly travelled, especially at night, so it would only be luck if someone else was around at that time of night.
Elsa sat patiently on the edge of the road in the driving rain on her mission to save her master.
And Then, A Chance Encounter...
By an amazing coincidence, a young family from out of State had taken a wrong turn a few miles down the road and were gingerly picking their way down the mountain trail at the same time as Elsa get back to the road side.
The family of 4 came across the lonely, soaking wet German shepherd, sitting by the road in the middle of nowhere, and wondered aloud what she was doing there.
John grabbed his raincoat from the back of the wagon and jumped out of the car to find out why this beautiful dog was sitting by the road, in the driving rain, in the middle of the night.
As he got to Elsa, who by now was barking excitedly, he saw the skid marks that Emily’s car had made on its trip across the grassy field towards the canyon.
Elsa ran towards the edge of the canyon and Emily’s car, then turned to make sure the human stranger was following her.
She barked and ran again, then checked to make sure that the man understood.
John had grabbed his flashlight and was picking his way down through the long grass towards the canyon, following Elsa as she ran on ahead along the cars muddy trail.
He made it to the edge of the canyon, and with his flashlight, he could see the broken wreck of Emily’s car sitting at the bottom.
Elsa was already racing down the hill towards the car, because she was sure that they would now be rescued. It was only a matter of time.
Four hours later, Emily was safely on her way to Hospital in a County ambulance.
John and his family had promised to look after Elsa for a couple of days until she could be cared for by one of Emily’s other family members.
Their drive in the mountains hadn’t turned out as they had planned, but it taught Emily a valuable lesson.
She had not always used Elsa’s dog safety restraint when they were travelling, but had put it on this time...she wasn't sure why.
She had no way of knowing at the time that this simple act probably saved her life.
Elsa’s dog safety restraint saved her from injury, so she was able to run for help.
Imagine the outcome if Elsa had also been injured, or worse.
Quite apart from Elsa being hurt in the crash, Emily may not have made it out of that canyon…
So How About You?
Do you always use a properly fitted dog safety restraint for your canine companion whenever you travel in your car or SUV?
You know you should.
Imagine something like this happening to you one day.
Or even something simple like some bozo running a red light and hitting your car.
Your beloved pet could not only be hurt or worse, she could become a 70 pound projectile flying around inside your car…
So please remember to use a safety harness for your dog whenever you are travelling.
The life you save could very well be your own.
We hope you enjoyed reading this story. If you have any
questions or comments about anything on our website, we'd love to hear from you.
If you'd like to get in touch, please do by using the Contact
Thanks for visiting,
return to the dog ownership home page, click here