Woman’s dream to travel country with her dog dashed after nasty crash

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A Yorkshire woman and her rescue dog have had their dreams of traveling the country by van dashed after a nasty crash.

Jessie Baxter, 23, saved up for ages to buy a campervan so she could take dog Bentley, who has some behavioral issues, around the country with her.

It was supposed to help Jessie’s mental health that has recently been keeping her off work, but a brake failure while the two were out for a hike has left Jessie and Bentley’s dream of completely writing off.

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Jessie, from Castleford in Wakefield district, told YorkshireLive: “One of my friends bought a van to travel around the country and I knew immediately that’s what we needed. I had to save up everything I had for a while just to get it.

“We were using it to take trips away and it was really helping my mental health where I’ve been struggling. But then one day we were driving for a hike and someone in front of us put the brakes on pretty hard.

“I went to do the same and my brakes just didn’t work. The airbags didn’t work or anything – we just went sailing into the back of the other car at 50mph.

“The van is completely written off now – it looks like it’s been eaten by a dinosaur. And now we’re back at square one and I can’t afford a new one.”

Jessie and Bentley out on their travels that were sadly cut short

Jessie first rescued Bentley, a Great Dane cross, when she was 16 and he was just 11 months old. Jessie said they’ve run into problems with Bentley’s behavioral issues, but the two have always had a special bond.

The experience Jessie gained from training and rehabilitation with Bentley has led her to her current career working at Dogs Trust and owning three more dogs.

Bentley is a big dog and gets anxious going in cars, as well as walking in places with a lot of people – so the van provided him with space for the two to travel to quiet spots and let Bentley finally run free safely.

How Jessie's dream van looked after the crash

How Jessie’s dream van looked after the crash

After saving up to buy the van for around £700 in summer 2021, Jessie invested time and money into doing it up for her and Bentley to go away. They had taken some short trips to the Yorkshire Dales, but Jessie’s dreams of making it up to the Lake District or even Scotland for a longer trip were cut short by the accident.

“I’d put a lot of love, time and money into making my little van a safe place for me and my dog ​​to travel in and for us to be able to escape in, and now without it my mental health is suffering and he’s unable to travel to safe areas for him to go on walks,” Jessie said.

“I’ve only managed to get £100 back on claims so I really just can’t afford to buy another one right now. I’ve been off work due to my mental health and was supposed to go back but this has shaken that up a bit.

Being able to travel in the bigger van to quieter walks really helped Bentley and Jessie

Being able to travel in the bigger van to quieter walks really helped Bentley and Jessie

“I was a very confident driver but I haven’t felt so good about it since the crash. My back is still in pain too from the impact and I’m having to rely on my family to help me while walking Bentley because I can ‘t take him too far in my car on my own at the moment – he’s too big and gets really stressed in the small space.

“I had started making a book to document all our adventures together since the van meant Bentley could finally enjoy walks, but that will have to go on pause. He wasn’t able to go many places before and now that’s the case again.

“I still plan on taking Bentley round the country, we will just have to wait a bit longer.”

Jessie is now fundraising to buy a new van so she and Bentley can get back out on their travels. This time, she is hoping to raise around £2,000 to ensure the vehicle is safer than the last one.

You can donate to Jessie’s GoFundMe page to help her buy a new van here.

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