About Mr. Spirit… NM

November 6th, 2018

And "NO", I can’t let go!!! It is going to take a long time…

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"The World would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to Love as unconditionally as a Dog"
~ M.K. Clinton ~

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spirit duster

It is just passed five am and why not be up while coffee is on its way. As the minutes passed I count backwards. Yes, again. It my humorous morning routine.  200, 199, 198… Those are the ages I feel as time marches on. Eventually it will get down to 70 again! These had been a couple restless nights while in my dreams Spirit has been running back and forth and mainly in circles as the madman he was. Far from being a "mad dog" but that is what I liked to call him! He had his moments just as if as he had swallowed firecrackers and while "pop pop pop" he left his trace in the dirt. One detail. His eyes were always on me, always! I loved that about him. Not in a selfish way as "here I am always look at me" but in the sense of his trust he had developed in me and I must strongly say vice versa. He was a long way from the shelter, the Lumpkin County shelter in Georgia north of Atlanta where emaciated and barely weighing 45 pounds we, for that electric instant, years ago crossed eyes.

Spirit and the balloons [original]

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Maybe you don’t know the story but it is a good one. One with a happy ending. Not happy in the sense that he has now departed, but in the sense of the Life he lived. After many futile jobs while quitting my business not able to handle it after Lance’s departure which had left such an empty and angry space in my Life, I decided, while living in Dawsonville, Georgia, to adopt a dog. That would be my third one in Life. The shelter was not very far, maybe 20 minutes away, and daily I would stop by and walked around waiting for that magic to happen. For those who have rescued dogs you know what I am talking about. Day after day I came back home empty handed. Then one day, walking to the last cage on the right I see in the furthest corner this little brindle fur ball totally curled up with his head between his legs. I look while myself immobile and he raises his head, only his head while his body does not move, opens his eyes and the electricity runs for just a second between our eyes. I still remember that precious moment. I will never ever forget it. That look could take chapters to write about. It was love, it was help me, it was I am all alone, it was please, please take me, I am begging you. He did not have to beg, that was it.

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But the Manager was not keen on me adopting him. Why? Because he was a Pit Bull and within a week was going to be euthanized. She insisted showing me other dogs but my mind was made up as hers also was. It was a definite "no". I then offered as a volunteer to come daily and walk him which "that" she accepted. Poor dog [he did not have his name yet] could barely walk. Spirit normally weighed 60 lbs., he was about 45. It was a one painful step at the time which broke my heart as being about a year old I could only imagine the abuse he had received. I don’t think himself knew what was going on. I did not even sense any happiness from him that now at least he could come out of his cage daily but my mind was made up. Yet, I had no idea how I was going to go about adopting him. The week went on, and on Friday I received a morning phone call from the Assistant Manager.

Yes?

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She asked me if I still wanted to adopt "this dog". "Of course" was my reply. She told me to get over right now. I did ask "how about the Manager refusing me to adopt him?". She told me that the Manager was off today. Euthanizing day was on Mondays and I better hurry up. I don’t think I ever drove that fast the few miles that separated us. She brought him into to the office, the paperwork was laid out and she asked me what I should want to call him. The word "Spirit" came out of my mouth. It was just like that! I then asked her why she was doing this? How about her job? Was she going to get fired when the Manager found out? She told me to not worry about it. She was a volunteer and her husband owned a chain of Taco Bells and BBQ joints meaning they were very wealthy, she herself had three Pit Bulls at home and she really did not care if she got fired as to her it was a worthy cause. Was it ever! I did not ask anymore questions and step by step we both went to my truck where I lifted him on the front seat.

Spirit in the Hole

What a day that was!!! I can replay every minute of it! We arrived home. It was a nice house I was renting on 16 acres [!] and as I don’t train dogs I let him be. He found a corner and again curled up he just went to sleep. The days passed. I had found a job and had to go daily while coming home always pretty late which is something the Restaurant business demands. There was a big covered patio in the rear and a separate laundry room which was just the size of a queen size futon which I purchased and with at least a 25 foot long leash, that room door open, food and water, he was on his own during the day. I would let him in when I came back from work and slowly, very slowly as it took more than a month as I would sit on the floor, he would come lay down next to me and put his head as hidden in my armpit! I would gently caress him, gently talk to him.

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My driveway was a long one. When I would turn in, the headlights would shine on the house and his leash was long enough for him to come to the side of the house were I parked. And one night, a famous night, my headlights shined on him as I saw him jump [because he sure could jump!] of joy. My heart raced to about a 1000 beat a minute I bet! Joy, happiness, excitement, none of those words express what I felt as I parked and fell myself to the ground in a big hug which lasted an eternity while he licked my face forever. That was the day which changed everything. Trust had finally taken place and emerged in his Life. It was unbelievable. I laughed, I cried, I don’t know what else I did but we had together reached that peak, that summit had cleared up, there was no more fog, we could see it so clearly.

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The few Friends I had came by to see him and fell in love with him. He was starting to put on some weight and his one step at the time was turning into a gallop! The days passed. I had my motorcycle but I never wanted to leave him behind while riding. The idea of a sidecar was born which I ordered and put together which is another story in itself! I never ever thought "how about if he did not like it?", "how about if he refused to jump in it?". I had already ordered his first red goggles… All together now, motorcycle and sidecar, I practiced riding on my own under his watchful eyes and a good thing as sidecar riding is the total opposite of a motorcycle and I ended up in a ditch more than once!

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Spirit enjoying the ride, Utah PCTB 38

Finally I felt confident enough for him to ride with me. Another famous day!!! I am asked often how long did it take him to jump in it? What did I have to do for him to sit in it? Keep his goggles on. The answer is "nothing". I brought him next to the sidecar and he jumped in, got comfortable while sitting upright and I promise that it was it! Period. He let me put his goggles on and there we went on our first ride to Dahlonega. Was I excited? Are you kidding? I was ecstatic! I mean having the ability to ride with my Dog next to me? Seriously? I had a hard time keeping my eyes on the road and I think that is when we started to look at each other at least every ten seconds. What a thrill and what a day that was.

Spirit and ---

But it does not stop there… We arrived in Dahlonega, small town 20 minutes away which if I remember had only a couple signal lights and while stopped at red lights and stop signs I am noticing people in cars and walking pointing at us. They are smiling, some are laughing and here I am wondering why while I look around me to maybe notice their reason. I finally realize it was us! I finally realized I had unintentionally created what I call a circus. Those were the days a dog in a sidecar just did not exist versus today when there are hundreds of them which makes me happy for the rider having the ability to have their dog ["s" sometimes!] with them and for the dogs to enjoy the road and the thousands of smells a minute coming their way. I felt strange us being the center of attention. That fact did not stop for 14 years…

Mr Spirit-2

Not long after the Restaurant I was working at as a Consultant closed down raided by the Georgia Tobacco and Weapon division who showed up with full gear and shotguns [it was quite a night!!!] because the greedy owner was selling alcohol to underage patrons. That was that. I could not take it anymore. Lost that too… My Friends Kevin and Mark who maybe are reading this will remember. I gave away and sold everything I had, gathered some camping gear and on we went! And no, it was not courage as some might say and ask. It was being cornered with nothing else to lose. Spirit was I say "designed" to be a camping dog! I often joke that I should have bred him for camping puppies!!! 14 years! Never had to ask him to do anything. He knew it all, he just knew. His eyes never left my sight. He knew I had rescued him. I knew he had rescued me. I would not be physically and mentally where I am today without him.

Spirit at Blue Mesa Lake, CO

"Damn Life" I tell myself often! Why did he have to go? Why did "Lance" had to go even though I so strongly feel "he is the one" that put us together and watched over us all these years and it has not stopped. I don’t think it will ever stop.

Spirit and I

Stay well,
               Ara and Spirit

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