October 23, 2008
For one Oklahoma Baptist University music education major, the journey to campus is part of a buddy system with man's best friend. Les Aeschliman, 31, rides 27 miles everyday from Midwest City, Okla., to OBU's Shawnee campus on his motorcycle with his companion, a Golden Retriever and Poodle mix, named Jake.
While Aeschliman is in class, Jake sits on the back of the motorcycle and does not move until Aeschliman returns.
"He will stay on the parked bike for over an hour, but I don't like him to wait too much," Aeschliman said. "Jake knows we came on the bike, and we have to leave on the bike. If he doesn't want to get left behind, he stays on the bike."
Aeschliman adopted Jake after discovering the previous owner was no longer able to keep the dog. Jake has only been trained by Aeschliman.
"He is very good at ‘sit' and ‘stay,'" Aeschliman said. "He can lie down, shake, and I can put a tennis ball on his nose, and he will wait until I say ‘OK' to catch it in his mouth."
Aeschliman transformed his motorcycle to meet the safety needs of his canine friend, who accompanies him on small errands around town.
"I made a seat that has the same curve as the saddle bags which builds him up to the seat height," Aeschliman said. "He can relax a little better and move around some. He has gone about 100 miles in one day with only four stops."
One of Aeschliman's professors, Dr. Paul Hammond, Dean of the College of Fine Arts, said Jake did not move while several people pet him, but immediately stood up when Aeschliman came out the chapel door from classes.
"I think the dog is extremely loyal to Les and admirably well-behaved," Hammond said.