It was last Thursday morning when Trudy Taphorn headed west from Alberta to Surrey, where her collies were to compete in a specialty event in Cloverdale.
She and a friend had five collies with them – two riding in the cab of a pick-up truck and three crated in the back. Kennedy, one of her most promising show dogs, was sitting in the front seat.
About 40 minutes out of Edmonton, the truck hit black ice and began to slide.
As soon as the back end swung forward, Trudy looked with disbelief at her friend.
“This isn’t going to be good,” she said.
Once sideways, the truck began to roll, toppling several times before coming to rest on the driver’s side in the oncoming lane of the highway.
The back end of the truck was smashed, and peering out of the truck, Trudy’s friend saw three crates broken into pieces across the road.
The dogs were nowhere to be found.
The women climbed through the shattered passenger-side window and Trudy was taken to hospital for several cuts to her hands.
Her friend and the two remaining dogs were okay.
After being released from hospital, Trudy spent the afternoon and evening searching for her missing dogs.
She was joined by scores of others, who found out through a Facebook site that the dogs were missing.
As night fell and the cold set in, the group had to call off the search.
Trudy, still traumatized by the accident, believes the dogs are dead.
But at 6:30 the next morning, her cellphone cut through an uneasy silence.
A woman on the phone asked if Trudy was the one who lost the dogs.
“They’re here,” the woman said, adding she’d keep feeding them until Trudy arrived.
An elated Trudy collected her collies – remarkably uninjured – and headed for home.
She informed her husband she was still planning to go to the Cloverdale dog show.
Trudy and Kennedy flew in to Abbotsford and caught a ride to the Collie Club of Canada 2011 National Specialty Weekend at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds March 19-20.
Trudy was unsure how her dog would do after being severely shaken in the accident.
She was awestruck at the results.
Kennedy won the Canadian National Specialty over 57 other collies, the best he’s done at such an event.
Asked what future plans are in store for Kennedy, Trudy said he’s earned some rest.
“That dog has nothing to prove, but I’m still showing him all around Alberta and B.C. at the all-breed shows,” she said.