Breakaway Collars - Lifesavers
by Sheryl Franklin
as seen on Sleddog Legacy Online - September 2006
I was having a relaxing non-laborious early Labor Day evening and the boys were jaw wrestling. The jaw wrestling turned panicky when Sebastian got his teeth caught in Cinnabar's collar and couldn't get them out. He got scared, Cinnabar got scared, and it escalated while they tried to get apart.
During calm moments, I tried to get Cinnabar's collar unbuckled, but couldn't because it was evidently twisted in Sebastian's mouth, it was really tight. This went on probably only 5 minutes, but felt like forever. I cracked a leash against the table while I yelled STOP to get their attention to get the calm moments.
I was sure Cinnabar was taking his last breaths the collar was so tight. They were both in a down, Sebastian had blood on his eyes, Cinnabar on his face. Cinnabar was rasping and I turned to get a knife to cut the collar off him, but they relaxed just enough that Sebastian was able to get uncaught from the collar.
I told Sebastian "crate" and left him in there for a couple minutes. Cinnabar ran to the kitchen, and I looked him over, nothing wrong. He got a drink and laid down in front of his crated brother.
Once I let Sebastian out of his crate there was mutual sniffing and everything went back to normal, with Sebastian being exceptionally gentle with his brother. Later they fell asleep back to back in the kitchen.
Initially I resolved no collars at home, until I heard about BreakAwayCollar.
On that site I found many heart wrenching stories of fatalities from collar choking. The two top reasons were dogs playing together, as mine were, and catching on a fence. In fact the woman who designed the collars, did so because her dog died being choked by his collar. She took tragedy and turned it into something positive for the rest of us. She's even got it designed so that you can use the collar with a leash without it breaking away.
Since wearing the collars, jaw wrestling sessions have been as normal, except you'll see a collar fly off from time to time. No choking, just joyful playing.
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