This dog has seen it all

September 2021

I remember the first time I saw Dan and Yakira. I was nearing the Stanley turnoff just before Kakabeka when the traffic slowed. The drivers ahead of me were taking their time passing a motorcycle with a sidecar and when I got closer, I realized why.

From behind, the scene was rather mystifying. A man wearing a helmet drove while – what I thought was an older lady – rode in the sidecar.

Now in my defence, I believe my assumption as to the identity of the occupant in the sidecar was justified. From behind I saw long red hair, a pink kerchief and a goggles strap, but – and this is where I became confused – the occupant was really short and a tad hunched over. When I finally passed, I laughed. The “person” in the sidecar was a dog, and as the wind blew through her fur, I could tell that she was loving every moment of the ride. It was happiness to the max.

I had to hear their story.

Dan and Yakira have logged over 60,000 km travelling around Canada and the U.S. since they began exploring back in 2016. The first bike, a Russian built Ural – described by Dan as an old WWII, tough-as-nails bike – was perfect for sideroads. It served its purpose but was replaced four years later by a more practical BMW, perfect for highway cruising. Since it didn’t have a sidecar, Dan had one built just for Yakira.

The places they have travelled to together is mind blowing.

Their first trip from Marathon to Inuvik, near the Arctic Ocean, kindled Dan’s desire to see more of our beautiful country. Side trips have included a 4,000 km dirt road excursion to Barrie via Sudbury and Wawa, a visit to Pelee Island, the most southern point of Canada, and a daring trip north of Pickle Lake where only moose and wolves dare travel. They have been to every province and territory except Nunavut and the Maritimes.

“When I got my bike, I told Yakira to jump into the sidecar, and she’s been my sidekick ever since.” To make things a bit more comfortable, Dan outfitted Yakira with not only goggles to protect her eyes, and a pink handkerchief to cover her ears, but spring and winter coats to keep the chill off.

“She’s such a good dog,” Dan boasts. “If I go into a place to have lunch she stays in her sidecar and waits patiently for me.” And every time Dan returns there’s always a person or two asking if they can take Yakira’s photo. “We’ve put a lot of smiles on people’s faces,” Dan admits. “It’s nice that way.”

When asked if he gets lonely on his travels, Dan laughs. “No. Yakira and I have the perfect relationship. When I talk, she listens. She doesn’t talk back and she doesn’t complain about the weather or the ride.” There is a wonderful connection between them, Dan admits: “She wouldn’t be my dog if there wasn’t.”

This summer Dan and Yakira plan to do another circle tour around Lake Superior – when the border opens, of course – so chances are, you may see them.

And when you do, you’ll smile, just like everyone else, as you witness the special bond between a man and his dog, exploring the country, and taking in all that the road has to offer.

Donna White is an accomplished author and Jubilee Medal winner for her volunteer work with World Vision. Visit her website at

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