Professional trainer Elicia Calhoun is well-known among the world’s serious agility competitors. The national and world champion is a top performer who has represented the United States for five consecutive years as a World Champion Team member.
Calhoun has proven just how tough she and her dogs are in the agility arena.
On Monday, June 11, 2012, her strength was tested in another way when the vehicle she was driving was involved in an accident near Tucson, Ariz., throwing her six dogs out of the car and into the desert. Calhoun was returning from a competition held in Odessa, Texas.
Three of the dogs suffered serious injuries, but are expected to recover. One dog, a 13-week-old puppy, was killed at the scene, while another was later struck and killed by a passing vehicle.
Last night, as social media announced news of the accident, one of Calhoun’s dogs, Tobie, was still unaccounted for and presumed missing in the desert.
Reports posted on Facebook indicated that Calhoun was hospitalized and treated, but checked herself out in order to spend the night in the desert searching for her missing dog.
This morning, Calhoun and a group of volunteers continued their search for Tobie, a brown and white Border Collie bitch. By mid-morning, news began to appear online that Tobie had been found unharmed. Reports posted in a Facebook group set up to help find Tobie indicated that the dog looked good and was being taken by Calhoun to be checked by a veterinarian.
About 4,600 people joined the Facebook group to show their support for Calhoun and her dogs.
When tragedy strikes someone in our community, social media allows dog people to rally support in real time. Volunteers have reportedly collected more than $20,000 on Calhoun’s behalf. Donations have been made online through FundRazr and, according to her Facebook page, Elicia is also accepting donations to her personal Paypal account.
For those of us who travel to conformation and performance events around the country, we understand all too well how this type of tragedy can happen. It is a credit to our community that the response to Calhoun’s accident has been so swift.
Volunteers on the ground and supporters online have proven once again that when there’s someone in need, dog people are only too willing to pitch in and help.