Skip to main content

In January, Patrick McLaughlin and his wife were on their way to drop Patrick at the airport. They had their two dogs, Ollie and Yogi, in the back of their van. Unexpectedly, an 88-year-old drunk driver came barrelling toward them from the other direction. They were hit head-on at 60 mph. Patrick insists that his dogs were unharmed in the car accident because of a specific safety measure his wife demanded.

After the collision, Patrick was able to pull his wife out of their new Ford Transit. “The police and firefighters told us one of the saddest things they see are dogs who are thrown out or get out of the vehicles during or immediately after impact and running onto the highway only to be killed by a passing vehicle,” McLaughlin told Newsweek. Thankfully, he found the dogs totally fine.

Patrick’s wife had seen a photo of a bad accident involving a Toyota 4Runner. From the wreckage, one thing left totally intact was a particular brand of dog kennel.

Two corgi dogs sit up in an open car window smiling one wearing red and white polka dot bandana headband another wears black sunglasses and white headphones around neck
Nataba via iStock

A certain dog kennel is credited with saving many pets during car accidents

Ruff Land Kennels is based in South Dakota and manufactures pet crates specifically for durability and impact absorption. Its crates have one-piece roto-molded construction instead of the more common two-piece top and bottom that are screwed together.

The company used NASCAR crash tech to inform its flexible design. As such, a former NASCAR safety official, Rick Noble, endorses the company. “There is nothing more important to NASCAR than driver safety. A key attribute to all safety efforts is building flexibility into the race car to absorb and dissipate energy. Ruff Land employs these same proven energy absorbing principles into their kennels, unlike other kennel brands that claim safety.”

Before buying the Ruff Land kennels, the Virginia Beach couple had been strapping Ollie and Yogi into pet seat belt systems. These systems might not have been as effective in keeping his dogs totally uninjured in the drunk driver collision.

Patrick says not only did the crates absorb the impact, but he was also able to kennel the dogs while the situation was handled. This would prevent the dogs from running off from fear or anxiety.

He also attributes selecting the properly sized kennel. If a dog crate is much larger than the animal, the pet could get injured from colliding with the crate.

It’s important to always strap pet crates down to ensure the crate doesn’t shift while driving or in the event of an accident.