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Ruby and Reno becoming travelling dog sensations across P.E.I.

Mike Doucette of Nine Mile Creek says he literally goes everywhere with his two sidekicks, Ruby, left, his golden retriever, and Reno, his golden doodle. For safety purposes, the dogs wear goggles, but the helmets are just for fun.
Mike Doucette of Nine Mile Creek says he literally goes everywhere with his two sidekicks, Ruby, left, his golden retriever, and Reno, his golden doodle. For safety purposes, the dogs wear goggles, but the helmets are just for fun. - Dave Stewart

A Nine Mile Creek man’s two best friends have literally become a hit travelling road show on P.E.I.

Mike Doucette, 64, a retired construction worker, loves to drive everywhere on his Spyder motorcycle but he never leaves home without Ruby, his eight-year-old golden retriever, and Reno, his four-year-old golden doodle.

But, what really stands out with this road show is the dogs accompany him on the road wearing their own helmets and goggles. The dogs are strapped in so they don’t jump or fall out. The goggles, called Doggles, protect their eyes from the wind and bugs. The helmets are just for fun.

They’ve become so popular, Doucette has created a Facebook page dedicated to their journeys called Ruby and Reno’s Road Adventures.

Reno, the four-year-old golden doodle, rides on the motorcycle just behind the driver. Reno is fastened in to prevent the dog from jumping or falling out. - Dave Stewart
Reno, the four-year-old golden doodle, rides on the motorcycle just behind the driver. Reno is fastened in to prevent the dog from jumping or falling out. - Dave Stewart

Mike Doucette modified the trailer on his Spyder motorcycle so Ruby, his golden retriever, could come along for the ride. Ruby is fastened in so prevent the dog from jumping or falling out and wears goggles to protect her eyes. - Dave Stewart
Mike Doucette modified the trailer on his Spyder motorcycle so Ruby, his golden retriever, could come along for the ride. Ruby is fastened in so prevent the dog from jumping or falling out and wears goggles to protect her eyes. - Dave Stewart

Ruby and Reno are not only Doucette’s two best friends, they are also service dogs so they are often invited out to hospitals and seniors’ homes to help perk people up. The Kiwanis Dairy Bar in Victoria Park is another spot where they like to hang out.

Doucette said the story started in Ontario, where he is from, in 2012 when he was diagnosed with a number of serious health ailments. When he got out of the hospital, he decided it was time to start enjoying life a bit more. So, he bought a Spyder motorcycle and a trailer that he modified so Ruby could ride with him.

Doucette said he was married at the time and his then-wife also bought a motorcycle and she wanted a dog to drive with. So, they got Reno.

“When I first started with Ruby I would put her in the trailer and just went up and down the driveway and she was fine,’’ Doucette said. “I put the goggles on her and it was fine so we went out on the road and she never once put up a fuss. Same with Reno. They were fine with it because they wanted to be with us.’’


Just the facts

  • Mike Doucette has travelled about 60,000 kilometres on his Spyder motorcycle but only 1,500 kilometres without his two dogs.
  • The Facebook page Ruby and Reno’s Road Adventures has more than 600 followers and more than 1,500 likes, extending as far south as Florida and as far west as Ontario.
  • Doucette has taken the dogs all over Ontario, around the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton and all over Florida.
  • Doucette strongly recommends people who own dogs purchase eye protection before allowing their pets to stick their head out the car window as dogs love to do. Doggles, as the goggles are called, are available at pet stores and on Amazon.

Mike Doucette says every stop, especially on hot summer days, usually involves a trip to a dairy bar where his dogs Ruby and Reno, pictured here, get an ice cream cone. - Dave Stewart
Mike Doucette says every stop, especially on hot summer days, usually involves a trip to a dairy bar where his dogs Ruby and Reno, pictured here, get an ice cream cone. - Dave Stewart

Doucette and his wife aren’t together any longer but Ruby and Reno are still along for the ride.

Doucette said he has put about 60,000 kilometres on his motorcycle so far and has gone about 1,500 kilometres without the two dogs.

He moved to P.E.I. in 2018.

Most of the road trips will involve stopping where the dogs can jump in water, cool off and chase a frisbee. Dairy bars are another hit with Ruby and Reno. They get an ice cream cone every time.

“It’s also an instant ice-breaker for people to come over and talk. You meet so many different people and I can see people’s reactions when we’re on the road. People come over and ask to take pictures.’’

“It’s a comforting thing. I’m kind of a shy person. They give me confidence and it's, I don’t know, a security blanket?’’

Ruby and Reno were a hit with the residents of the Dr. John M. Gillis Memorial Lodge in Belfast where they paid a visit to recently. - Contributed
Ruby and Reno were a hit with the residents of the Dr. John M. Gillis Memorial Lodge in Belfast where they paid a visit to recently. - Contributed

The dogs are also a comfort for their owner. Doucette was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after he had adopted Ruby and Reno. His physician told him he should get service dogs but he already had two.

“It’s a comforting thing. I’m kind of a shy person. They give me confidence and it's, I don’t know, a security blanket?’’

But, Ruby and Reno seem to be doing as much for other people as they’re doing for their owner.

“It puts an instant smile on your face,’’ said a woman passing by as The Guardian interviewed Doucette next to the dairy bar at Victoria Park.

Christina Linton, the activities director at the Dr. John M. Gillis Memorial Lodge in Belfast, said when her husband told her about the Facebook page she knew an invitation to the seniors’ home had to be extended.

“Before COVID, family members would come in and they would bring their pets. There is a real strong connection between residents and animals but since COVID animal visitors have also been restricted so they haven’t been able to get that love,’’ Linton said.

So, Linton invited Doucette and his buddies out where an event was held recently outside the facility so physical distancing could be observed. Of course, ice cream was on the menu. She called the event Ruby and Reno’s Drive-thru Dairy Bar. About 45 residents, and the dogs, enjoyed a variety of flavours of ice cream.

“When they saw them pull up, it was nothing but smiles,’’ Linton said, referring to Ruby and Reno’s arrival. "I mean, who has ever seen dogs in a motorcycle before wearing goggles and helmets? It was a wonderful day.’’

Ruby and Reno’s Road Adventures recently stopped at the Dr. John M. Gillis Memorial Lodge in Belfast where they brought smiles to about 45 residents. - Contributed
Ruby and Reno’s Road Adventures recently stopped at the Dr. John M. Gillis Memorial Lodge in Belfast where they brought smiles to about 45 residents. - Contributed

Doucette never tires of the attention, even when police officers pull him over to check on the dogs’ safety, and so they can snap a picture.

Doucette said one time in Niagara Falls, Ont., a police officer stopped traffic in all four directions at an intersection so he could take a picture of Ruby and Reno riding shotgun. Next thing Doucette knew, 50 bystanders had surrounded the motorcycle, everyone snapping pics.

“It really warms my heart,’’ Doucette said of what Ruby and Reno have done for him and others. “Visiting the nursing home in Belfast . . . that was a really touching day, just to see the seniors and the smiles on their faces..’

Doucette can’t imagine life without his sidekicks.

“What better way to ride around on a beautiful day than on a motorcycle with your two best buddies,’’ he said, choking back tears.

Twitter: @DveStewart

Mike Doucette says every stop, especially on hot summer days, usually involves a trip to a dairy bar where his dogs Ruby, pictured, and Reno, get an ice cream cone. - Dave Stewart
Mike Doucette says every stop, especially on hot summer days, usually involves a trip to a dairy bar where his dogs Ruby, pictured, and Reno, get an ice cream cone. - Dave Stewart

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