Scott the Bullet Dog and His Sidekick, Mike

If you live in Tucson, Arizona, there’s a good chance you’ve seen them whizzing by you in traffic, saddling up somewhere nearby, or maybe sitting right next to you at a light. The easily recognizable duo piloting the bagger with the distinctive bullet-shaped sidecar have become local celebrities for the striking path they cut through the streets of the Old Pueblo. Their names are Mike Thomas and Scott, and they ride a 2018 Road Glide with a very special sidecar. A one-of-a-kind creation with a lot of gawker appeal, the twosome can’t go anywhere together without drawing a lot of attention.

Task-Support Service Dogs

Veteran Mike Thomas was injured many years ago at the age of 25 while in the military. The outcome was multiple surgeries involving rods, screws, and wires to his back and neck. He ultimately received a medical discharge in 1999, but that wasn’t the end of his health troubles. Five years later, he was rear-ended in a serious wreck that caused additional harm requiring even more surgery. Then, about eight years ago, his physician suggested he look for a service animal to help him navigate. At that point, Mike was having difficulty just walking steadily and continually run the risk of taking a tumble. His wife, Autumn, agreed with the doctor. With the threat of falling mounting daily, a task-support dog seemed the only feasible way for Mike to maintain his independence.

Photo: Mike Thomas

German Shepherds

After considerable research, they found Tre’Good German Shepherds, a breeder up in Flagstaff, Arizona, specializing in highly trainable, super-intelligent canines known for their protectiveness. During a reconnaissance mission there, Mike and Amber found Scott, a sweet little puppy Mike immediately felt a bond with. Mike returned when Scott was 11 weeks old to bring him home, and the two have been inseparable since. In an unusual turn of events, Mike became Scott’s sole trainer. Nearly unheard of, by the time Scott was just 4 months old, he was ready to be tested for his new job. Anyone in the industry will tell you that this is an extraordinary feat to accomplish in such a short period of time.

Photo: Mike Thomas

Service Dog Certification

Mike’s next step was to take Scott up to Gentle Hearts Service Dogs in Sedona, Arizona, to be tested for performance. Scott passed his evaluation with flying red, white, and blue colors. The deal is that all service dogs must be able to perform two services that their owner/handler cannot do on their own. Dogs under consideration are subjected to multiple tasks and external distractions such as loud noises before they’re given the official thumbs up to be service dogs. Scott’s such a natural at it that he’s since trained other dogs to be service animals.

Photo: Mike Thomas

Therapy Dogs

Scott’s also been the subject of a study undertaken by linguist Bryan Gordon, MA, which stemmed from his uncanny ability to understand without much more than a whisper or subtle turn of his master’s head. Gordon noted that Scott’s level of obedience and facility with new commands easily placed him within the highest of Stanley Coren’s intelligence rankings. He added, “Scott learns new verbal commands with no training at all when they are given to him after he intuitively provides needed assistance in his capacity as a service dog.” In a case of the apple not falling far from the tree, Scott’s dad attained the highest level of therapy dog status, and his mother worked as a diabetes service dog.

german shepherd
Photo: Mike Thomas

Canine Motorcyclists

It was Autumn’s nudge to get Mike to take a motorcycle safety course that put him and Scott on the path to notoriety. Soon after, Mike bought a Dyna Low Rider from one of the Harley dealers in Tucson. He then got his hands on a repurposed toolbox that had been turned into a sidecar for Scott. They rode that bike until it was hit by another rider in May of 2018. That same year, Mike bought a 2018 Road Glide Special, and a custom sidecar was soon in the works for Scott. Fabricated by Dan Jackson, it’s known as “the bullet” for obvious reasons: it features a smooth cylinder shape with a snub nose and flat back resembling a gun shell. Mike took the credit for the idea, while Dan had the equipment and talent to realize his vision. The result is pure art.

Hitting the Open Road

Mike and Scott still regularly hit the road, but 2022 has been a busy year for them both. In June, Mike was asked to join the board of Operation Resource Arizona as a consultant to help bring awareness to veterans and first responders. If someone needs a service dog, they will go out of their way to get them the help they need. And Scott’s life has changed, too. As Mike puts it, he has a fiancé in a 2-year-old German Shepherd from Czechoslovakia named Neva. She came from the same service dog provider as Scott. Furthermore, since the owner of Tre’Good’s retirement, Mike was asked if he’d be willing to step in as trainer. To top it all off, Mike and Scott are slated to appear in the December 2022 issue of Easyriders Magazine. You can find @scottbulletdog on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.

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