If you spend any time around people who ride motorcycles you learn that as a demographic it would be hard to find a more helpful or warmer group of people. I continue to be amazed at how quickly the family can mobilize to help a rider in distress. The following appeared on one of the forums I visit:

Guys, just got word that a fellow sidecar rider is in a primitive campground at Angel Peak. His dog, Ripple, had a spinal embolism while they were on the road. He stayed at the San Juan Vet Hospital for three days till Gene couldn’t afford the bill and took him out. Ripple’s left rear leg is paralyzed, he is incontinent, and for the next couple of weeks cannot be moved without risk of further damage. After that he should be able to move again, but his sidecar days are likely over. Gene is low on funds and supplies: food, batteries, dog food, wipes to clean up Ripple when he is incontinent. Is there anybody in that area that might be able to get him resupplied? I’ll donate funds to the cause, but can’t do more than that from Vermont

Quickly a paypal account was established and small amounts of money arrived.  Someone who was reasonably close arranged to get cash and supplies to the campsite. Later another person who was close collected Gene and Ripple and took them to his home where less stress will make it easier to access Ripple’s future. 

In Gene’s word

Ripple’s in the Universe… 10/06/15: It’s my 55 birthday and I’ve just left my Ripple at the Hospital, paralyzed, confused, afraid… I’m shattered and returning to camp to gather our belongings. It’s a long trip back to Chaco Canyon, World Heritage Site. I stop by the side of the rough, wash-pan 21 mile long, dirt road for a good cry… 

A sliver of a moon and it’s pitch-black. No cell reception. Now I’m completely alone. Then I hear a dog whine  in the darkness – my mind must surely be playing tricks on me. Then, I see two eyes. And a dark Brindle, emaciated, un-neutered, pit-bull walks up for a pet, hops right in the sidecar and falls fast asleep. Guess I was wrong – not so alone. “Chaco” is completely wild, but very chill and gentle. Just another thoughtless Reservation dump. 

He spends the next few days comforting and traveling with me back and forth between the hospital and a new camp at Angel Peak park. Instant sidecar dog. How the hell do you explain such things? 

10/09/15: I pull Ripple from hospital and sadly, have to leave “Chaco” at the shelter. Officers reassure me they will keep a special watch on him and that he will be available for adoption if things go downhill for Ripple. Thank you my friend. Up all night trying to comfort Ripple, giving massage, stretching and range of motion exercise… He is restless, as am I. Still trying to take in this new reality. I see some improvement and outwardly vow to fight on, but my strength wanes, my mind drifts to worst cases scenarios. 

10/10/16: 8:00 a.m. No sleep. I hear a truck pull up outside the tent and footsteps; “Now what the hell!?” I’m guarded, protective, afraid. “What can I do for you?” I ask. A voice responds, “I’m Ken, from Adventure Rider.” Comes the reply.” I’m here to help.” “You’ve got to be kidding!” I say, and the tears start to flow… Ken says, “this is no place to be…” and leaves us with food, water, baby wipes. 

It seems that Peter Burke and others had put the word out of our predicament, and Ken and his family have graciously stepped forward. Ken returns to pick us up later and take us to his home to rest and regroup for a couple of days—truly a miracle, and I have no meaningful words to express my sincere gratitude for all who have cared. Ripple is still making small degrees of progress, still is rushing to jump back in the hack, nose in the wind… There is hope yet. 

10/11/15: Ripple is walking now unaided most of the time, and has had no more incidents incontinence, Still weak and wobbly, dragging that left leg, still mercifully not in pain. But we are not out of the woods yet. We are safe and in good, caring hands, but funds are depleted. Will consult with another local Vet on Monday. Still searching for answers – for what’s best for my companion? Our deepest thanks to Peter and Barley; to Ken and family, to everyone for their kind words and wishes for Ripple! We fight on! Please friend us on FB @ EH Alberts (Ripple The Road Dog) Again, our thanks!!

If you hear riders referring to their brothers and sisters it is not just lip service. It is a very large family.