How Spirit was saved and the end of the ride, Utah

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Well, maybe I need to pay more attention to maps and spelling! My friend Brian send me a couple links to the Widstoe Ghost Town and I realized that we missed it by a hundred feet!!!… as we did see the Cemetery but did not go any further. One of the links is actually written by a gentleman who’s Family lived there, map of the town and all. We are definitely going back, a good excuse, I can’t take this kind of failure!!!

white rocks

Since we had time left that day, free time from not seeing the Ghost Town, I decided to go on and close the loop back to Escalante, however with a little side trip to the Grosvernor Arch, passing by the entrance of Kodachrome State Park which I knew we would not have time to see that day. The pictures are in chronological order, the road passed the State park is not suitable for a street bike, would have not been suitable for us neither if we did not have a knobby in the rear due to some fairly deep sand. Much washboard, and the combination was a bit bouncy as the speed was needed or… slow and sink in! The knobby is almost worn out, again, but it did the job.

road 5

rear tire  

Of course no pictures of the deep sand!… take my word for it. It is actually "Cottonwood Rd" which will take you south to Highway #89 and into Page, we would had only 30 miles to go to #89 if we had not stopped at the Grosverner Arch. There was not a soul on that road, maybe because it was late in the day but with daylight till close to 10pm it would be a shame not to enjoy the coming sunset.

road 12

In places the road turned white and the contrast with the red rock at the distance was awesome and so unusual. Going in is always more a bit concerning than coming back! The return always seems easier because of knowing the condition of the road, of course the U-turn option is always there, but being at the rig’s limitation we obviously made it both ways.

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road 10  

A reader reminded me that I had never written about how Spirit and I got together. How true. Here it is. When  I returned to Georgia and rented a house on 16 acres, (including mowing a 5 acre lawn…) I really longed for having the company of another dog, company period. Tascha, "Lady Tascha" as everyone called her, was my previous one, a black Lab that was my shadow wherever I was, a gentle Lab that loved living on a sailboat… and also dive off of it! I had met someone at the time with a gentle Pit Bull and loved their temperament, even if a "public and media stigma" was so attached to them. I had learned a lot about the breed from my Friend. Not far from the house at the time was the County shelter and decided to go and visit.

road 8 

I like to rescue dogs and I will leave it at that regarding my opinion about spending thousands of dollars on one when so many need a Home! I am sure you understand. At the same time, as most people are, I am such a softie when going to a shelter! I can only rescue one… I would like to rescue them all. It is not like you go to a store… a shop… what size and color… does it fit or not… You just have to go in without any thoughts of a choice and let Karma do its thing. Of course I will never forget that day and I don’t think Spirit has neither. 40, maybe 50 dogs that day?… left alone to walk in between their stalls, you guessed it, everyone in unison started barking. Ah! all those characters talking out loud wanting so desperately a home to go to, some jumping, some going around and around in circles, some extending their arms as to grab me and never let go, if only I could take them all I was thinking!

road 13

Close to the end of the alley, I call it, unfortunately "death row", in the corner, right far corner, a bit in the shadows I remember, as standing myself kind of stupefied, was this brown ball all curled up, his head between his rear legs, nose buried, ears down, immobile without a bark as suddenly those eyes in unison with mine made contact… That was the moment, my hair still stand up and my eyes still get watery thinking about "that" moment. There was no sound, there was no movement, there only was that look, that sad look, the look when one is resigned that Life is over as myself I had seen it not too long ago. At the same time I saw a spark of hope in those eyes, a dim light of thought that maybe, just maybe… "I can be saved".

road 14

I went to the office to talk to the manager, there was no thinking about it, he/she was going home with me! Well, rolled up in his corner, "he" was in bad shape… very bad shape. Physically bruised, emotionally freshly scarred and it just happened that the manager did not like Pit Bulls and "it was not the right dog for me", she could not let anyone have him. He had a week to live, 6 days exactly as their "deed" is done on Mondays when closed. I was not going to give up that easily, I was not working at the time, only painting the inside of the house to make it habitable and give a try to live like everyone else. She allowed me to take him for a walk, as a volunteer worker, which I did… painfully, him with a limp and no soul or physical contact, just going through the "nervous" motions of being out, just being out! I could not approach him, pet him as he would walk away and I did not want to force myself on him either. He was not just lost in this surrounding, he was totally lost within his Life.

road 15 

Wednesday, Thursday went on… I came back every day to walk him, I was on pins and needles, I was not happy, choked up every time the manager would suggest another dog for me. I tried to reason, to joke, to make sense of it all, with no avail. There was no story on him even though they knew his previous owner, no one would tell me what had happened, only that he was about one year old. The assistant manager, on the other hand, raised Pit Bulls! She was a volunteer, her husband owned a dozen fast food restaurants, she only worked there a few days a week for her love for animals. Friday came around and as I was getting ready to get on with my daily visit, around 11am, (amazing how one can remember certain days!), the phone rang, it was the assistant manager telling me that if I wanted him I better come right now as the manager was out for the day. I really don’t remember driving there, signing the papers, but I do remember telling her that his name will be "Spirit"… I had no leash, no food… she gave me everything that I needed… and we went "HOME"!!! He was shaking in the truck, shaking like a leaf, I could already just imagine his past… the shaking took a long time for it to go… you know? He sure does not shake anymore!!!

arch 1 

"Grosvernor Arch"

What a day that was! I asked her if she had any fear about loosing her job?… she did not care… We never went back, I have e mailed her a couple times and when we went back to the East Coast a little while ago, I was going to take a ride back to the shelter with him, but decided against it. What for? Why maybe awaken his bad memories? From day one I let him be, we live together, we respect each other and have built up a mutual understanding. The first few weeks where tough, many visits to the Vet, and as slowly he physically healed up, he also realized that him and I were going to be together for long long time. I started working after a while, there was a laundry room with a separate entrance up on the rear patio and that became his room while I was gone for the day, with queen size futon mattress and pillows mind you!  Door open, long 50′ line and slowly, as every night I came back I saw the change, I saw the silhouette of this dancing dog from my headlights when he would hear me come up the long driveway… We would play regardless it was midnight or two in the morning as I worked late! We would then go in, and the first thing that he would do is put his head under my arm and I could hear a big sigh of relief! We had bonded…

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arch 6  

I had to leave him behind when going to work, but I could not or wanted to live him behind when I took off riding! The sidecar came into our Life, I took a chance… Putting it together is a totally different story, but the moment it was ready and I had practiced going into the ditch by myself a couple times on the property, I cannot remember forcing Spirit to get in and ride with me… He figured it out instantly… "Cool… I get to go with him now wherever he goes… this is my car now!" and jumped in right away. I wish we could relive those moments, they were something else! And you know the rest of the story… the goggles, the helmet, same thing… even though I know he does not care for the helmet too much but needed when going long ways. Sometimes now I will leave him behind a few minutes! Kind of a hide and seek game… just so he can get excited about seeing me again! After all, we are together 24/7. What can I say… we should all be so lucky as we both are.

arch 5

arch 7  

I have another story that I will post next time, we are living it "now"… I cannot ruin the element of surprise! But I know that I will title it "When one door closes another one opens". Life seems to have leveled off here, all is calm, at Peace, many places to go… and the first monsoons!!! We did manage that day to take a peak at Kodachrome Park, they let us in for free for just a few minutes as we were loosing the sun and the rocks were already half shaded. It is an unbelievable place where we will go and camp for sure and yes, it is that "red" at sunset.

kodak 1

kodak 2  
kodak 3  

It turned out to be a long day! From the unfound Ghost Town, to Gosverner Arch, a brief entrance to the Park and a great ride back in the dark with a tail wind… no deer but many rabbits and no warning from Spirit either. He just does not have that one down yet!

sunset 4

As always, you be well…

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Ara Gureghian   853 Vanderbilt Beach Rd #245   Naples, Fl 34108

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Ara & Spirit

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14 Responses to “How Spirit was saved and the end of the ride, Utah”

  1. Dee Says:

    Ara, i loved your story about Spirit,it made me cry. And as always loved your pictures too. Dee

  2. Bill Says:

    Ara,

    What a great story about how you rescued Spirit, it brought tears to my eyes! I love dogs but have not had one since I was a kid. Living in a 2nd floor condo is not a great place for a dog, but if we go full-time RVing someday I think we’ll have to get one to travel with us. I have been tempted to volunteer at the local shelter but have avoided it because I would want to take them all home! Instead I volunteer at the local Red Cross chapter now and then.
    Thanks again for a great story, I’ll be looking for the next chapter! I enjoy reading your journal everyday. It helps looking at all your great photos as we are stuck here in Naples. If we could sell the condo at a decent price we’d be out of here and down the road in our RV.

    Take care and give Spirit a big hug for me!

    Bill

  3. Starla Myers Says:

    Ara, Thank You So Much, for sharing Spirit’s Touching Story. I have to admit, it made me cry. I am so happy that life brought you two together…and that you did not give up on getting him out of there! Bless you both. What a life you share. It was just meant to be! Hugs to Spirit…

  4. Louise Says:

    Thank you for telling the story of how you and Spirit met. I’m all warm and fuzzy inside, now!

  5. Bob Says:

    Wow. Wonderful tale (tail?). Great pix, too, as usual.

  6. Scott Sand Says:

    Ara and Spirit,
    What a lovely story; I have a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. My wife and I have a rescue pup that was on “death row” as well. An attempt was made to put her down but there was difficulty finding a vein. She was put back in a holding pen and a local rescue group came along and picked her up. She’s a bit of this and that but what a wonderful loving dog we have. I totally understand your love and your bond. My wife now does volunteer work for the rescue group and it’s a wonderful feeling to have these dogs placed in loving homes. Now we know the rest of the story. As always, goods travels Ara and spirit.

  7. PAUL BROWN Says:

    You might want to try a knobby with a little harder rubber. Shouldn’t wear out as fast. Great pictures and articiles.

  8. Michael and Sandra Says:

    Wonderful words and pictures. Thanks for sharing both.

  9. Belinda Salinas Says:

    I had always wondered how you two had come together and I am glad you shared this story. Must admit it brought a tear to my eye and that does not happen very often. I applaud you for your perseverance in adopting him. Both of you are very lucky to have found each other.

    Till next time have a safe ride and give Spirit a big hug for me.

  10. The Artful Adventurer Says:

    You have a heart and “soul” as big as the west in which you roam.
    thank you,
    Mark and Bobbie,
    The Artful RV Adventurers

  11. Cindy Says:

    Ara, thanks so much for telling the whole story of how Spirit joined your life. Pretty sure I know he came to you at a time when you really needed him, not just Spirit needing you.

  12. Geri Says:

    Ara, your blog was mentioned on RVSue’s blog so I had to come check you out this morning! Thank you for introducing me to Spirit! It was pretty much the same way when I met Radar. The Franklin County Humane Society had posted Radar’s phot as a “Last Chance” My husband and I were camping in Tetonia Idaho when I saw the post on FaceBook and I knew I had to have Radar! I called the FCHS as soon as I saw his beautiful little face! I also knew there were foing to be several problems… it would be 3 months before we returned to Apalachicola FL, where Radar was. I talked to a lady at FCHS and she told me Radar was due to be put down the next day. He had heartworms and nobody had been willing to pay for his treatment! She tried her best to talk me out of adopting him! Nope, I was having none of it. I called my Vet in town and told him about Radar and that I want him treated for heartworms and gave him my debit card number and I asked him to call the FCHS to arrange the treatments! A foster Family was found to care for him until we could get home. He has been with us for almost 2 years now and I have never been sorry for making sure he came home with us. Radar is the sweetest, smartest, most amazing little character! I am glad that folks like us, you, me, my husband and the folks who posted on Sue’s blog, who realize that “rescued” is the best breed there is! Hugs to you and Spirit! I’d love to see a photo of him! Amazing photography along with your story also!!! Geri

  13. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Thanks Geri… He has many Photos on the Journal and also in Smugmug which I have a link at the bottom… You can even have a Mousepad!!! Be well and Thanks for writing. Great Story. Ara and Spirit.

  14. Ron Petitt Says:

    What a great story and relationship that you and Spirt have together. I too have a rescued pitbull mix named Moo, that I got when she was 3 months old.
    She came to me during a period where in a matter of 18 months, my mother, then my oldest brother, my best friend of 40 years, and my wonderful 18 year old Border collie died.
    Moo saved me and I have spent the past 13 years taking really good care of her. It is truly a blessing to have such a unique relationship with our loving companions.
    I have been following you journeys for years and pray that God will bless you and Spirit with many more adventurous journeys together.

    Ride safe,

    Ron Petitt

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