A West Australian family had the fright of their lives when their six-month-old kelpie puppy slipped her harness and fell out of the window of a moving vehicle.

Key points:

  • The six-month-old broke her back leg but was otherwise OK
  • She is expected to make a full recovery provided she manages to sit still
  • The vet who treated her says animals used to fall out of cars a lot more often than they do now

The car was travelling at 110 kilometres per hour along a major highway in the South West forest region.

Owner Rochelle James said her partner Gary was on his way home with Toffee strapped into a harness inside the car.

“He heard a yelp and she fell out of the window,” she said. 

The family rushed Toffee to the vet where she underwent surgery.

“She had multiple contusions, grazes and deep lacerations,” Ms James said.

“But it was the back hind leg that was badly broken.”

A puppy with two bandaged legs lies down with a toy.

Toffee is expected to make a full recovery and be back to normal in a few months. (

Supplied: Rochelle James 


Better in no time

The Swan Valley Vet Centre’s Mike Davies treated Toffee after the accident.

“Her growth places are still open, so her legs are still growing and that was our real complication for fixing the fracture,” he said.

“We were able to put the two broken bits of the bone back together using three different steel rods to hold them in place.

“We’re very, very pleased with how she’s gone and hopefully now Toffee is going to make a full recovery — as long as we can keep her quiet and calm for a few weeks, which is proving to be quite a struggle.”

A brown kelpie puppy curled up with a toy.

Sitting still for the next few weeks while her leg heals will be a challenge for the energetic pup.(

Supplied: Rochelle James


Dr Davies said dogs falling from vehicles was less common than it used to be.

“We used to see a lot of them when dogs were unrestrained in the back of utes,” he said.

“But now that people are much more sensible and we’re obligated now to restrain them in the back, we’re getting much lesser incidence.”

A woman holds a tiny brown kelpie puppy.

Rochelle James and Toffee when she was eight weeks old. (

Supplied: Rochelle James


Sweet, chewy and tough

The young kelpie has certainly proved she’s tough after her adventure, which has added more meaning to her name.

“When we picked her up we said, ‘Well, she’s caramel coloured and she’s sweet, so we’ll call her Toffee,'” Ms James said.

“But then in no time at all, she was started to chew everything, so we had to call her chewy Toffee as well.

A small dog sits next to a horse in a paddock.

Toffee spends a lot of her time with best friend Felix.(

Supplied: Rochelle James


A new harness

Toffee is strapped into a cone of shame and on bed rest until she heals, but once she is allowed to travel again there will be a new harness waiting.

“Even though we did have a harness on her, you still feel responsible for your pets,” Ms James said.

“When she’s allowed back in the car, we’ll be buying her the best harness possible.

“She’s an amazing dog, she’s absolutely fearless … and she is as smart as can be.

“She’s just a wonder, but obviously she can get out of harnesses too.”

Kelpie on road to recovery after exiting family car at 110kph
Source 1


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