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Paw power: Four-legged friend offers companionship, plays vital role in driver’s life and career

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Paw power: Four-legged friend offers companionship, plays vital role in driver’s life and career
Driver Shane Lloyd and his service dog Moby, a massive Great Dane, travel the roads as a team with Lloyd’s wife Nikole. (Courtesy: Shane Lloyd)

The phrase “man’s best friend” is frequently used to express the special relationship between a human and his or her dog. The relationship between trucker Shane Lloyd and his Great Dane, Moby, exemplifies that distinction.

However, Moby is more than just a best friend — he is also Lloyd’s lifeline and protection. Lloyd, an Army veteran, is an amputee.

Lloyd was born in Utah but moved to Alaska where he was raised. He eventually moved back to Utah and then to Nevada; the Lloyd family now make their home in Las Vegas.

Shane and Moby 2
Moby and his human, Shane Lloyd, mug it up in the cab of the truck. (Courtesy: Shane Lloyd)

Truck driving was never really something Lloyd considered as a career until an inspiration from his daughter, Gabby, sparked a dream. At the time, Lloyd and his wife, Nikole, owned an RV business but were in the process of shutting it down.

“My daughter graduated from (the University of Nevada, Las Vegas) and was working at the college of Southern Nevada while also running my RV business. She already had experience driving bigger tucks,” he shared, recalling the day Gabby told him she had decided to become a truck driver.

Lloyd said he knew she was up for the challenge, and he supported her decision. That decision spurred him to do a bit of research about trucking life. As he read about the industry, particularly the increase in husband-and-wife team drivers, he realized trucking could be a career for him and his wife. The couple applied for their authority, went to school and bought a truck.

“We got everything done, and my wife and I started together,” Lloyd said. “We liked to travel, and the RV business had given us a way to travel. This is another option to get to do this.”

Family is important to Lloyd. In addition to Gabby, Lloyd and Nikole have three other children, Chancey, Shiloh and Alexis. In that spirit, Lloyd and Nikole formed Shanik Logistics. The unusual company name comes from the first three letters in their first names, Shane and Nikole.

“My favorite thing about being a business owner in this industry is the freedom,” Lloyd said. “When you are stuck in an office setting and going into the office on all days, there are not times to get away. With this, my wife and I just jump in the truck and go.”

The couple enjoys the variety of scenery as they travel, plus the chance to eat at new restaurants.

Shortly after leaving the Army, Lloyd said, a tragedy occurred: He was the victim of a violent attack and was shot 15 times. He was hit in the femoral artery twice, and lost his leg below the knee.

That’s when Moby entered the picture.

“I raised my service dog since he was eight weeks old,” Lloyd said. “He is a massive dog, and I’ve trained him to be a mobility dog. So, wherever I go, he goes. He has done everything.”

Moby is essential to Lloyd’s career in trucking, and he also makes an excellent companion. It’s not all hugs and belly rubs, however. When it comes time for Moby to do his duty, Lloyd says the Great Dane is all business.

Shane and Moby 3
Shane Lloyd and Moby relax and visit with other drivers during the 2022 Mid-America Trucking Show. (Linda Garner-Bunch/The Trucker News Magazine)

“If we have a long walk to do, like at a trade show, when I am walking it’s pretty hard to swing the leg,” he explained. “I hold on to him, and he will provide me with some forward momentum, and he will heel right next to my side. I give him commands too. It’s almost like he’s driving the truck in those situations, and I’m steering him.”

In addition to being a vital part of Lloyd’s career, Moby plays an important role in Lloyd’s leisure time. Lloyd says he loves to hike, and his faithful companion allows him to get out and explore.

Moby is not the only canine in the Lloyd family. They also have a lab, Sitka, who was intended to be a service his service dog but was too small. Sitka weighs in at nearly 100 pounds, but with Lloyd standing at 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighing 240 pounds, he requires a bigger dog for assistance.

“He helps in ways that most people don’t know that service dogs do,” Lloyd said. “He does a great job. When I’m in the shower — I mean, standing up on one leg in the shower is difficult. He will sit right there and hold me right up.”

As for Moby, Lloyd says the dog seems to love traveling with the trucking couple.

“He really enjoys the different scenery,” Lloyd said. “Every time we get somewhere or go somewhere, he is always out sniffing around. He likes to just roll with us. He is like a giant kid.

“In the truck, he tells me when he is thirsty, and he has a little water jug of his own. When he is thirsty, he will tap the water jug and then look at me. When he is hungry, he will tap the food bag and look at me,” he continued. “When he needs a potty break, he will come nibble on my ear or pinch me on my shoulder. We will pull over and he will jump and do his business, then jump back into the truck.”

Moby is dedicated to his human companion.

“He likes just going around and seeing new places — as long as he is with me. His job is to be with me at all times,” Lloyd explained. “When are at a five-star restaurant or the theater or wherever, I have to tell him to stay if I have to go to the bathroom. Once I get up, his face will not leave that general direction until I return. He always knows where I am at. The second I am not in his line of sight, he feels like he does not have a job.”

Nikole and Moby
Shane Lloyd’s wife, Nikole, enjoys a bit of quality cuddling time with Moby. (Courtesy: Shane Lloyd)

Lloyd and Moby have a long history together, including many visits to the Six Flags amusement parks, where Moby was trained to ignore all the loud sounds. The busy settings were also helpful as Moby learned to interpret the difference between happy laughter and “scary” laughter and between tears of joy versus someone who may need help.

“It is all part of good training,” Lloyd said. “When I go to the airport, he is all happy and playful, but once we enter the doors, he immediately snaps into work mode. You can see that change.”

One of Lloyd’s favorite Moby stories is when they were preparing to board a train in New York City while visiting some of Lloyd’s Army buddies.

“This really — I mean really — creepy looking guy that caught our eye in the vestibule,” Lloyd said. “He just looked at us and Moby, and (he) whined about liking cats. Moby, out of his natural instinct to protect not only me, but my group of friends, corralled us to the back of the vestibule. He then walked toward the front and stood right between us and this guy. He looked at him and let out a low growl. He just stood there with a look to the man like he was saying, ‘Stay away from my people.’”

Man’s best friend indeed!

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