Thursday, August 4, 2011

Life on the Road with Spirit, a CANIDAE Special Achiever

A few months ago, Linda Cole wrote a great article about Ara Gureghian and his dog Spirit, who have been touring the U.S. together (by motorcycle!) for five years. Ara & Spirit’s inspiring story captured our attention, and I’m happy to report they’re now part of the CANIDAE Special Achievers sponsorship program. We asked Ara to write a guest post for us about their travels, and he graciously agreed.


What if the video camera had been rolling 24/7 for these past 5 years full time on the road camping with my buddy Spirit? How about if he would do the commentaries? Goggles and helmet on, sitting in his own sidecar, nice four season tent with four motel nights a month, his CANIDAE dog food twice a day for better health than I could wish even for myself, some serious clowning and loving, and teaching me. Yes, Spirit has taught me the true values and priorities of Life. I have not heard a single complaint. He has not stopped glancing at me every 10 seconds while we ride, has not quit wagging his tail – what more can I ask or deserve from such a companion?

It is a funny thing the unfortunate dog-less are missing out throughout this Life of ours, which all too often is thought of as a rehearsal…but trust me, it is not. One Life to live and what better path than with such a mate when on these present occasions we are of each other’s help. I have had the tragedy of losing my only child, my son Lance, just over 7 years ago. Spirit himself had the misfortune of being badly abused for his first year, and while walking through the shelter, when our eyes crossed 3 days before his due send off to the other side, it was a mutual understanding within that split second look, the one imploring to save the other.

This “being on the road therapy” is intense for both of us. Every day is a step ahead, and higher and higher we climb. Mother Nature is also our companion, “Old Faithful” is our vehicle, a trustworthy motorcycle with a sidecar which has logged 256,000 miles, and quite often Lance also rides with us and watches out for what is around the next curve. We get lost often on those interminable dirt roads which take us to the most beautiful parts and spaces of this country. To the best smells Spirit will himself say... We meet new friends when around urban environments, all so curious when maybe looking a bit worn out as to where we have been, how long we have been gone, how long will we be gone?

Neither of us have that answer as time now escapes us, the hands on the clock have long ago disappeared and the calendar blown away, the last time it was seen displayed only numbers from years past. The only tie has been our journal, words from the heart written from where we sit behind “that” boulder or on that mountain peak or in the valley next to the welcoming creeks and their music so soft to our ears. The camera has captured so many moments that have frozen our steps from a contemplation that never ceases to bring us peace toward the near past moments that have dealt our cards, so dark then, brighter today. The true memories, however, are all within our minds when we glance at each other and with no need for words we remember the good times we have had so far.

It is a lifestyle we fully realize is a bit uncommon for most, but this lifestyle puts us in touch with each other within those vast and deserted spaces where we can both truly listen to the voices of growth and self realization toward an inside out smile that becomes permanent even when the capricious Mother Nature makes it hard on us. Together, Spirit and I can withstand the days of lightning and thunder, the swarm of mosquitoes, this new breed of tenacious summer, with rain that drops buckets of water on us leaving us no choice but to take refuge in our tent for hours at the time. It is all and has been a matter of balance as the core of Life itself is. The sunny days and the darker days – in the end, the brighter frame of mind always comes out ahead.

Spirit and I have so many stories to tell. Perhaps we will have the chance again to send out some words expressing our experiences in more detail now that we have introduced ourselves.

You be well.... Always.

Ara & Spirit


  1. We all have our own story and our own way of dealing with whatever life dishes out to us. I was drawn to your story because of a photo of a dog wearing goggles and a helmet that said, "Bite Me." It made me smile. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us. You and Spirit are Special Achievers!

  2. Thanks for telling us this story. We sure hope he will write a book about his travels. What a great thing to do. Take care.


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