My Variocage Saved My Dogs’ Lives Print
It was around 9.00 pm on a Thursday evening and Janna LaBerge was on her way home from a dog training class in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Her two American Eskimo dogs Scarlett and Beam’r were in their Variocage double crate in her SUV’s cargo area. At one point, LaBerge was forced to stop in order to allow a family of deer to cross the lonely road.
“The road borders an open nature reserve and is home to a lot of different wildlife, particularly herds of deer,” explained LaBerge.
“I am always on the lookout. But in particular, there is a dip in the road that’s known as a popular wildlife crossing. There is even a sign drawing motorists’ attention to this popular deer crossing point. On this particular evening, as I approached the crossing, I slowed down as I always do, and, in fact, there were four large deer standing in the middle of the road.
“Eventually, I started honking my horn to get them to move along and cross over. On the fifth honk, there was a sudden terrible crashing sound of crunching metal as a large SUV going around 60 mph crashed into the back of my stationary vehicle.
“When I got over the shock of the initial impact, my immediate thoughts were about my dogs in the back. Fortunately, I had no physical injuries, but my car had certainly taken a hit, and the other vehicle was a total mess.
“Momentarily, I was totally unnerved because the other driver started berating me for suddenly stopping in the middle of the road. But he calmed down when I explained that I’d halted to allow some deer to cross.
“Fortunately, the deer weren’t involved in the impact – two had crossed over into a ravine on the other side of the road, and the other two had bolted back in the direction they’d come from and were actually standing there staring, literally like deer caught in headlights.
“Despite the crumpled metal on the cargo door, I was able to get it open and was instantly relieved to see that my dogs’ crate was totally unscathed. In fact, Scarlett and Beam’r were sitting there wagging their tails and showed no signed of trauma or injury at all. It was such a relief! I thought they would be trying to claw their way out. But their crate withstood the impact, and they weren’t thrown around at all.
“Scarlett and Beam’r are my babies! There’s no doubt in my mind that the steel strength of the Variocage took all the impact and saved them from serious injury. If they had not been crated in such a strong crate, they probably would have been thrown forward and possibly could even have gone through the windshield. I hate to think what else could have happened; they could have even been killed and caused injury to me too.”
LaBerge said that she had owned her crate for about a year when the accident occurred.
“Prior to that, I kept them in the cargo area and used a barrier to prevent them from moving forward into the passenger area of the vehicle. I decided to replace the barrier because it was a bit flimsy and kept coming down and falling on the dogs, and I was worried they would get hurt.
“A friend had a crate for her dogs, and I decided to do some research. In doing so, I came across the Variocage line. I was impressed by the crate line’s crash-tested data and their manufacture specifications. And the final selling point for me was the fact that one side could be adjusted to better fit into a specific vehicle.”
After the accident, LaBerge was concerned that her dogs would be resistant to getting back into the crate, but they showed no hesitation. “When I’m not working, we are always together. And, if they had been traumatized by the accident and refused to return to their crate, it would have been a huge problem in my life – totally impacting my lifestyle.
“Further, Scarlett is a registered show dog, and we do a lot of dog shows together. It would certainly have ended her career in the show ring. Not to mention that I would have had to stop taking them to their training classes, which they really enjoy. There’s no doubt I was more unnerved by the experience than Scarlett and Beam’s.”