3 Dog Pile Up

It’s difficult to tell, but Piper is in there too.

It reminds me of a time … oh, just this afternoon, when some kid in a zippy little car SLAMMED INTO THE BACK OF MY CAR on the highway and totaled it.  “It” being my van.  Or his car.  Either way works, because both vehicles are toast :(  I’m just waiting to hear back from my insurance company to confirm that the van is indeed a write off … the impact sheared off my back bumper, demolished the muffler and the back hatch won’t open no matter what strong fireman tugs on it.

I am super bummed about it.  I was thinking just last week, while spending an ungodly amount of money to replace the wheel bearings in my van, that it would be totally paid off in a year.  Now they’ll probably write it off, pay me next to nothing for it, and then I’ll have to use that as a down payment on another vehicle.  The car payments in my life will never, ever end.

Thank doG the dogs were not in the vehicle at the time.

Thank you, Jebus!

I think it’s ironic that I drive a very long commute several times a week to work, but someone totals my car about a kilometer from my house on my day off.  It’s funny.  Ha. Ha.  Whatever.

Anyway, instead of a post bragging on Tweed and Piper’s marvelous performances in Masters Standard at tonight’s trial, which should be in this spot, I’m nursing a rather sore neck and looking up medical clinics to visit tomorrow to get myself checked out.  And I’m very grumpy.  Only photos of a Wootie with a Flying Squirrel® for a face can make me smile.

Since it looks like I will probably need to get a new car, maybe one of you can suggest a good dog vehicle that will hold a number of crates, and isn’t too bad on gas mileage.  One thing the Pontiac really sucked at was gas mileage.  But I have 5 dogs (sometimes 6) and they must be crated in the car, so I know my options are limited.  Any suggestions?


  1. Evie Douglas says:

    Well shit. I’m so sorry. Thank doG the dogs weren’t hurt, but sorry about you too. :( Feel better soon, K?

  2. Sorry about the accident, though I’m very glad you weren’t hurt worse and the dogs weren’t along! Car payments never end, do they. :(

    For as many crates as you need, yeah, you’re sort of limited to the Econoline cargo-type vehicles. If they were able to ride loose, I think a Toyota 4Runner would work out pretty well. Heck, even my little ’01 RAV can fit four dogs comfortably (loose) and that’s the little baby bear of the Toyota SUV family. However, with that Econoline, they do get rather decent gas mileage; I just did a 21 dog (and 5 cats) transport in one of those that was stacked floor to ceiling with crates. We on a 10 hour round trip and only filled up once.

  3. email me – might be able to suggest help

    77dogma at gmail

  4. Sorry about your van :( Do get yourself checked out! Been there, and still dealing with the affects 5 1/2 years later.

    If you are interested in another van, look in to a newer Kia Sedona. Lots of room inside, the middle captain chairs are removable, and the rear seats fold completely flat, leaving lots of space for crates. Dual power sliding doors, and a very decent price tag to go with. Do not go older than 2008. :) Great on gas too.

  5. Janice in GA says:

    Holy crap, that sucks hairy donkey balls. :( I hope your neck is ok, and I’m heartily glad it wasn’t any worse!

    No advice on cars from me – my car is a 19 year old Mitsubishi with 220,000 miles. That’s why I’m mostly riding the bike these days.

    Best wishes on a new vehicle!

  6. SweetCeana says:

    The Honda Element is apparently very dog friendly. You can hose down the back, I have been told it holds many crates, and there is a sleep topper you can buy in case you decide you want to sleep in you car at a trail or agility competition. Wink Wink. One of the ladies in our rescue has one of these and it seems really neat.

    Here’s a link: http://automobiles.honda.com/shop/element.aspx?ef_id=9wNM3sRJAAAALEA:20110212050040:s

    The page currently says on the front ” Designed flexibility and built in utility , plus an available dog friendly package to pamper your precious dog”

    Plus, it comes in Wootie orange.

  7. Oh dear! so sorry to hear about your rear-ender. Get medically checked out and don’t “sign off” on any insurance till you know for sure you won’t need physio or whatever down the road.

  8. Don’t know if you can do a pickup or not, but I can’t believe how good the mileage is on the 4cyl Ranger, and it is not totally gutless.

  9. The Element won’t be big enough – I have 4 crates in mine, bot one is a stacked smallish crate that fits my 17 1/2 in 25 lb BC/JRT/Staffy mix. But any minivan should be able to fit what you need. I had a Honda Odyssey for a few years and we were able to fit 5 crates into it. The Element is a great dog car though, but sadly this is the last year Honda is manufacturing it. Guess that means I will have to go back to a minivan in a few years. Although my long term plan is to have fewer dogs (have 5 now) so maybe I will be able to manage with something else.

  10. So sorry this happened to you, but glad you weren’t hurt worse and that the dogs weren’t with you.

    I also recommend you take a look at the Honda Element. I looked at them when I was car shopping. They are huge inside with the seats stowed. I also thought being able to hose out the interior was pretty cool too.

    I hope you feel better fast.

  11. Wow I’m so sorry to hear about your accident. Definitely get yourself checked out! I hope all the aches and pains disappear quickly. I’m so glad the dogs weren’t in the car too. That’s always my worst fear when driving anywhere with my dog in the car.

    I always swear my next car will be a Subaru because the company is really pro-dog. But I’m not sure if they have a vehicle that would fit that many crates.

  12. So sorry about your accident. I’d also like to throw a vote in for the Honda Element. Loads of room and the seats can be arranged in all sorts of configurations – even as fold down human beds. When all the seats are out, it has the room of a large van. The opening in the back splits so there is a tailgate. Very handy.

    Good luck and take care.


  13. mrkittysmom says:

    I thought Honda was thinking of stopping production on the Element – but that could be a good thing – as you might find one cheap.
    They really are pretty rugged vehicles and can hold more than you think…..or get an old Dodge Caravan and take out the back seats – they do come out easily and you have a lot of loading space.

    Do you have CarMax in your area? Good used cars/vans, reasonable price. And they stand behind them.

    I also wonder is Subaru has something you might use – best darned vehicles in the world.

    Good luck… I read your blog every day, as you can tell by my name I am a cat person, but I really love your dogs!

  14. So sorry about the accident. :( It’s good news the dogs weren’t in the van, but take care of yourself and get yourself checked by doctors to make sure you are ok. That’s the most important thing right now.

    Hopefully the insurance comes back with good news and you get a good compensation for the van and to face the medical bills. You deserve it.

    I hope everything turns out well and things pick up a little bit. And you get some way of making the commute to work, too.

    Best of luck and best wishes. I’m sorry I cannot be of much help. :(

  15. That sucks! I’m so glad the dogs weren’t in the vehicle. Remember neck and back injuries from rear-enders can take a few months to manifest fully, so don’t settle on THAT part of your claim too quickly!
    I second the Honda Element, based on what dog friends who own one have told me, but if it is out of your price range, have a look at Dodge Caravans 2005 and newer (there were some problems with earlier ones). I bought a 2005 Caravan (not the Grand Caravan, just the regular) about a year ago and have been really happy with it. I removed just the middle set of seats for my dogs, (two captains chairs – there’s also one back bench seat, so lots of options – plus the second and third row fold flat) and have lots of room for a couple of crates. With both rows removed, you could easily get a ton of crates in there.

  16. I’ve had Subarus for years, but I only have three dog crates in my Legacy wagon. Plenty of room with the back seats folded down. But, my dogs are smaller than yours. Mechanically, they’ve all been very reliable, and the gas mileage is good. Not sure if they make one large enough for all the crates you need, though. Hope you recover quickly, and I’m glad the dogs weren’t in the car with you.

  17. I have a 1997 and 2001 Jeep Cherokee. Very reliable through the years. OK MPG. 4WD. May only hold three to four crates, though, w/the back seat down.

  18. Sorry to hear it Sheena. When we were looking for a car that would hold our dogs, we looked at everything then on the market. We ended up with a Sienna because it was the only non-full size van option we looked at that could hold crates large enough for the border collie and still fit in our garage (I think the Honda Odyssey would also hold the dogs, but it was too big for our garage). You can get six crates in it, though two need to be smaller and they are not as easily accessible. Recently, we were able to put seven dogs and three crated cats in it to move. One of the dogs had to ride loose in the passenger seat, though. It gets 23 mpg pretty consistently; we’ve not had any trouble with it (knock on wood); and it’s got about 90,000 miles on it.

  19. Oops, sentence #3 above should say “border collies”. The Sienna is a Toyota–highly rated by Consumer Reports for reliability.

  20. I’d recommend the trucks they use to transport sled dog teams. I don’t know about the gas mileage, but with the kennels built in, you wouldn’t have to move them in and out of the vehicle…

  21. I see Toyota & Honda have been mentioned – they’re nice but pricey. Even Toyotas, with all their recalls are still not inexpensive (the acceleration thing they were exonerated on just last week btw). I have a 99 Toyota btw :-) & that thing is still going strong.

    I’d suggest a Kia minivan.

    & I’d strongly suggest Simpson Thomas & Assoc. I used Bernie Simpson’s old company when I was rear ended.
    It won’t cost you a penny & odds are it will be much to your benefit.

  22. I second getting yourself checked out. I don’t know what the auto insurance coverage is like in Canada, but hopefully the kid’s, if not yours, can cover some of the medical care you might need.

    As for cars…
    The Honda Element is excellent, has a pretty good MPG for its type of car and has tons of space. When I was car-shopping, if I could’ve found one in my price range, I probably would’ve gotten that.

    Subaru is pretty good as well but I don’t think it could hold your crew.

    What about a Jeep? A couple of the older lines are pretty large. I’m not sure it’d hold all the crates, but could be worth checking out. Jeeps, while not great on MPG, are pretty durable and last a while. And further, they are designed so you can do many of the basic maintenance work at home more easily than, say, a Honda Civic. With my old civic, I couldn’t change the headlights myself, but with my current but old Jeep, I can.

    That upside might be appealing to you if you’ve a mechanically-inclined friend. I know people who are still driving their 30yo Jeeps, and there are even clubs for Jeep owners, if you’re interested in exploring that community, heh.

  23. This all sucks hairy goat nuts, as my BFF would say. :( Sorry to hear about your accident. Been there, freaked about that, yup.

    I just peeked at autotrader.ca and there seems to be a lot of 3-5 year old minivans for reasonable prices available locally…most of them were dealership sales so there ought to be some kind of limited warranty on most of them, which is nice. Unfortunately, the majority of the vans were Dodge Caravans, but hey. Try to keep an open mind (this from a Pontiac lover, haha!) You’ll find something ideal for you and your hounds, I’m sure.

  24. We have a Dodge Sprinter…runs on diesel but gets 20mpg, with the AC full blast and fully loaded. not too shabby.

    It’s 6′ tall on the inside…and we have tons of crates (three large, two medium on top, and one small one on the very top)…with one bench seat still inside for passengers, and still room for TONS of gear, flyball box, BF’s scooter/wheelchair.

    We have the largest wheelbase and the tallest roof, but there are smaller versions. Also not sure if you guys have the Ford Transit up there…they’re an ideal dog car, imo…bigger/taller than the Element, and built to be work vehicles so no carpet to deal with.

  25. Sorry to hear about your accident, FL! They’re tough–just make sure you get thoroughly checked out and don’t have any lasting injuries. But you know that…pfffft :) you’re the indestructible FL. After my accident, I found hot packs helped my neck a lot, and long baths as well.

    As for vehicles, my vote is for an indefatigable Toyota. Great gas mileage, and Rav4s do have decent space in the back. The old school 4 Runners are fantastic vehicles as well, and the seats will fold nicely to accommodate a great number of dogs, dog cages, etc :) I had an ’89 2-door that had an engine rebuild at
    265,000 kms, and I drove it until it hit nearly 400,000 clicks. Plus the four wheel drive is handy in the snow, mud, and if you feel like adventuring to find new places to play with hounds in the pokies.

    Bonne chance and best wishes for a speedy recovery!

  26. Andrea/Schnitzie says:

    How are YOU feeling? I’m glad that you were not hurt…I’m assuming. You didn’t say, which is kind of WEIRD in a really nice way, since you did say thank goodness that the dogs were not with you. Just want to make sure YOU’re okay.

    Lots of dog people in transport get and love Honda Elements. They’re highly convertible spacewise, and boxy but sporty, and they make a specific model that is dog-friendly. The Honda Element Club of the US transported a rescued Saint Bernard from North Carolina to Vermont and took pix of it. How cool is that?

  27. Sorry to hear about your accident and dead van. Not fun!

    Don’t sign off on any insurance stuff until some time has passed and you are all checked out. Neck and back injuries are nothing to sneeze at. My neighbor currently suffering with shoulder pain due to being rear ended HARD.

  28. Sorry to hear of your misfortune.
    I love my 12 year old Honda Odyssey with 140,000 miles on it.
    I don’t think anything smaller than a minivan to going to haul all those dog crates.
    I’d recommend looking for an Odyssey that’s a few years old, so that it’s affordable.
    Good luck!

  29. Really sorry to hear about the accident. Now that you are a day or two out you are probably even achier. I hope that you are doing ok. I don’t know any RMTs in Surrey, but can recommend one in Vancouver, but you probably aren’t keen to be doing more driving for therapy.I hope there is someone to take as good care of you as you take care of the dogs.

    No good vehicle recommendations, but if you can find a good diesel van, that will get you better gas mileage. Just make sure its maintenance is up to date, because things like oil changes and timing belts seem to cost more with some diesels.

  30. The Subaru Forester or Legacy are great cars but I don’t think you can get that many crates in them. I think all I could get in my Forester would be 4, and that would be with the front seat down.

    How about a half-ton pick-up with a box insert? The downside is you can’t talk to the dogs as you drive, but half-tons are quite a bit cheaper than 3/4 tons.

  31. You’ve gotten great suggestions so far – can’t argue with them. I would add, that IF your van is drivable, you have an option. You take the settlement (see above medical claims info) and “buy back” the van at the salvage price, usually a few hundred. You may also get the insurance company to give it to you since your’e entitled to a free rental car (probably) for some number of weeks…. that would cost them more than the salvage price. Remember, you’re a single woman living in the middle of nowhere you simply MUST have transportation…. milk that.

    For a while, you use the side entry to the van and ignore the existence of the hatch back. This allows you several things: one is TIME to find a deal and the right transport vehicle. IMO – in a crisis is NOT the time to buy anything – lousy buying choices come from that. Second – you might well get another two years out of that rig, just wait and see – could be well worth the wait. Three – don’t take the first value they give you for it. Four – call salvage yards on your own and see what they’ll give you for it – a friend of mine got 3x salvage at a yard as compared to what the insurance was going to pay.

    Take care of yourself.

  32. Why on earth would Honda stop producing the Element? *baffle*

    The driving experience on the Odyssey is much better than on the Sienna. IMHO, if you are considering a mini van. However, I think you are going to end up with a cargo van, probably American. I am told there are millions of used Explorers (SUV) out there cheap and they are reliable, but I don’t personally drive American cars if I can help it so I don’t know more.

    Hope you are feeling better…. sucks….

  33. Well, I just went through this myself. (Not the accident thankfully.)

    Here’s what I found:

    Honda Element — Very cool but out of my price range.
    Honda CRV — way, way out of my price range even used.
    Subaru Forester and Outback come heavily recommended down here but again, too much.

    I settled on a Dodge Carvan. Love it! I only have one crate large enought to fit two smaller dogs. But I am a vendor at shows and this van packs it in. I left the very back seat in, it makes a nice place to go chill on a trial day.

    The gas mileage is good. It’s a 6 cyl and my last car was four so it seems to take a lot of gas but it doesn’t really. Lots of folks down here in Minnesota have them and swear by them. They easily go past 200,000 miles.

    Only warning, I test drove about five, all used. All but one of the used ones had major mechanical issues obvious. Mind you, my top price to pay was $5,000. If you can go into something about 4-5 years old you can get a looooot nicer vehicle.

    Good luck!

  34. I also checked out Jeep Cherokees, test drove a few. Rather jouncy ride but they do have 4WD. But no way you get six crates in. I decided against based on space.

    I opted out of the trck option due to climate control. In a state that goes from -30 degrees in winter to 95 degrees with 70-80% humidity in the summer it’s just not practical. My pups would either be icicles or roasted.

  35. Sorry that happened, I was there about 7 years ago. Luckily it did not total the car. Hope all your aches and pains are gone soon and that the insurance gives you enough to cover the true replacement value of your van.

  36. Serious bummer about the lack of vehicle. And your neck, of course!

    I have a 2004 Ford Windstar bought new and immediately gutted it of the back seat.
    I can easily put 3 Giant Ferrari crates in their for my GSD’s, with a couple feet of free air on top and plenty of wriggle room between them. I’m guessing you use 400’s?…probably could easily fit 5-6.

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