UPDATE: Although initial reports said Elicia fell asleep at the wheel, she now says that was “a poor choice of words at a very stressful time.” She says poor response time due to ‘highway hypnosis’ is the cause of the accident. Elicia’s Border Collies, Ice Man and Tobie, are expected to make full recoveries. BreeSea, Tobie’s Mom, is severely dehydrated but Elicia’s Aussie, Destiny, will fully recover from her injuries.
This past weekend, well-known agility trainer, Elicia Calhoun, found herself in every dog parent’s worst nightmare. Calhoun fell asleep at the wheel while driving home from a competition in Texas.
According to ABC15.com, her Hyundai crossover hit an 18-wheeler semi truck and rolled over several times along the I-10 near Willcox, Ariz. All six of Calhoun’s dogs were displaced from the car upon impact. Three of the dogs suffered major injuries but are expected to make a recovery. Calhoun’s 13-week-old puppy died instantly, while two others went missing.
An outpour of support for Calhoun came after news of the crash was making its way around Facebook. A Facebook group called “Help Elicia Find Her Dogs!” amassed more than 5,000 members and a fundraiser has gathered nearly $20,000 to help Calhoun.
Group leaders posted details of the missing dogs to encourage a group search: “Two of [Calhoun's] dogs are missing near Mile Marker 351 off the I-10 near Wilcox, Arizona. Please, keep an eye out for these poor dogs! Tobie is a red/white Border Collie and Nika is a Merle-colored Aussie with only one eye and a tail.”
Calhoun, who suffered a punctured lung, checked herself out of the hospital on Monday to search for her missing dogs. She found one of her dogs, Nika, dead along the side of the freeway. The Border Collie had been hit by a car.
On Tuesday morning, Calhoun and a group of volunteers went searching for Tobie. There were also airplanes flying over the desert searching for the missing dog and by 9 a.m., Tobie had been found.
Amber Abbott, a member of the Facebook group, wrote: “They have her! She looks good! She has had a bottle of water and is in Elicia’s arm. They are on the way to the vet.”
i Love Dogs Ambassador and dog agility trainer, Deborah Davidson Harpur, shared updates from the Facebook group to garner more support for Calhoun and even posted crate information cards to help fellow pet parents keep their dogs safe.
It’s very important that pet parents prepare for emergencies as best they can, ahead of any trips or outings. Read our detailed information on how to prepare your pets for emergencies and veterinarian Dr. Mahaney’s top pet emergency preparedness trips. If you own a smartphone, the ICEforPets app will store your pet’s information and call a programmable emergency contact if anything should happen to you.