The booming barks of Shiela the German Shepherd can be heard long before the tiny four-stroke motor that lends extra power to a unique vehicle that cruised through the Shuswap last week.
Frank Sapach is cycling across Canada with his dog and motorized trailer in tow to raise awareness for homeless and abused animals.
“I’m simply a mobile ad, trying to raise awareness in a pleasant way,” said Sapach who said that he disagrees with TV advertisements that show sick and abused animals and that it’s better to show off a healthy well kept animal like he is doing with Shiela.
Sapach and Shiela set out from Victoria after spending the winter there and have been travelling east with hopes of reaching Sapach’s brother’s home in Alberta by the end of the summer.
The duo have been on the road almost continuously since June 2013, when they walked from Chilliwack to Calgary. Since then have made journeys from Calgary to Moncton and from Halifax back to B.C.
Sapach is overcoming many obstacles to continue his cross-Canada journey, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011 and also has to contend with osteoarthritis and COPD.
Sapach refused treatment for the prostate cancer because he feared that it would limit his time Shiela.
“I decided that I wasn’t going to go sit in the hospital. I don’t need to live to be 90, I just need to live as long as my dog,” Sapach said.
Sapach said that the hard kilometres on foot and on his bike have actually improved his lung and joint problems, leaving him less reliant on pain medication and inhalers than he was when he began.
On his trip through the Shuswap, Sapach made it as far as Sicamous before having to return to Salmon Arm to mend a broken wheel and fix some other mechanical issues with the help of Skookum Cycle and Ski on June 16.
Sapach posts regular updates about his travels with Shiela on a Facebook page titled: “Shielastrip.blogspot.ca.”