Lynette Smith, WA

In Loving Memory of Ryder Jackson ❤

I’ve struggled since October 24th, 2018 writing this post. I’ve gone back and forth about writing it.

First let me start by saying I’m absolutely devastated, and shattered by the loss of my beautiful chocolate Ryder, and in the same breath thankful, that Skyrah survived. It’s a strange place to be – heartbroken/shattered, and thankful at the same time.


On Wednesday, October 24th, I walked into the house, and walked into a horrific scene. Skyrah, and Ryder some how got tangled. Skyrah had her jaw entangled in Ryder’s collar. I screamed, dropped everything, and ran to the dining room. I quickly unbuckled their collars, shook Ryder, “wake up, wake up”, and realized he was gone. I quickly grabbed Skyrah and we both went outside on the back porch. I kept petting her, holding her close repeating “it’s not your fault”, while screaming in horror as to what I found.

In that moment, out of nowhere my friend appeared. I didn’t recognize him at first because I was in such a fog, and literally losing my mind. He asked if I needed help, and I thought “what are you doing here?” He wasn’t supposed to be here. He told me he was going left for a haircut, and something said go right – to my house. He was at my house within 5 minutes of me walking into this horrific moment. He was such a wonderful help. He helped me call my mom, and Leslie. I am forever grateful for my tribe that helped me through that horrific moment. I could not have gotten through the past week and half without the support of several people. Dr. Womack was so kind in helping Skyrah and getting her checked out. Mark from the Crematorium was so kind. Our church pastor, my team from school, and the prayers help. My heart will be broken for sometime. I’m hoping that sharing his story, will help others, and help heal my heart even just a little.

Ryder lost his life due to “collar strangulation”. Approximately 30,000 dogs die every year. There are NO warning labels on collars, companies sell them as “break away or quick release”, and no one talks about it. But the quick release is with human help….I hope to change this!

PLEASE REMOVE YOUR DOGS COLLARS – ANY COLLAR – when they are unsupervised for any amount of time. I knew to never leave a dog in a kennel with a collar on – that’s dangerous, and they can get hung up on them. Never in a million years, did I think what I walked into could/would happen.

I have immense guilt, and feel as though I failed as a pet parent to keep my sweet boy safe ? I’m struggling to get through each day. Skyrah is a lifesaver through all of this tragedy. I learned a horrible lesson in the most horrible of ways.

I cannot, not let people know the dangers of dog collars. Ryder’s life will be remembered, and will advocate for the rest of my days many changes I would like to see take place in the pet industry. I’m working on a series of things currently.

There is only ONE dog safe collar on the market “Keep Safe” dog collars, and I am now an ambassador for them. When there is tension of any kind on the collar, they break way like a cat collar. The collar Ryder was wearing was…. I was under the impression it was safe. It is NOT safe. I’ve reached out to the company numerous times, with zero response….in an effort to educate them, and have some changes take place to make it safer for all dogs.

Ryder was an amazing spirit, and my soul dog. He was a man of comfort, loved everyone he met, and everyone loved him. His favorite store was a local pet boutique, and putting his paws up on the counter for treats. He would wake me in the morning, and never let me oversleep when the alarm went off. He loved spaghetti, cooked carrots, green beans, and sitting on the patio furniture watching the beautiful day. He took every moment in <3 He was an old soul <3 He was present in every aspect of my life. He was my trained service dog. He was loved beyond measure, and every part of my heart is shattered. I miss him with every single breath I take.

I also acknowledge how incredibly terrifying this must have been for both of my dogs, and how it has affected Skyrah too. She sustained some injuries to her jaw, jowels, and under her mouth. She’s healing, and physically will be fine in the near future. She’s lucky to be alive.

PLEASE Tell your dog owner friends, to remove their collars from their dogs when they are home alone. The collars (unless they are a true breakaway collar) can get hung up on anything. The carpet, a knob, furniture, walking by a kennel, you name it….it was a total freak accident….it should have never happened. I’m heartbroken beyond any loss we have sustained thus far….and it’s going to take a long time for me to move forward from this. I’m thankful for every dog hair he shed, every moment he was a part of our lives, and the blessings he brought to my life (and my families everyday).

Fly high angel boy. I love you so much ❤ ???

Chinook pictured with the collar that took his life. Through his death we hope other dogs may live.

The risks of tragic collar strangulation accidents and injuries are real.

The KeepSafe Break-Away Collar provides 24/7 protection from collar strangulation accidents.