STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
When Brew Van Gogh rolls by on his Harley-Davidson donned in leather, he demands attention. No ordinary biker, this 7-year-old broken coat Jack Russell terrier mix has logged more than 15,000 miles on the back of owners Diane and Roy Lenoch’s red, black, and silver Harley. On a recent ride near his home in Kingsland, Brew barked in protest as the bike slowed to a stop.
“It’s never long enough,” Roy said of Brew’s rides, adding that the dog barks ferociously at stop signs and red lights because he’d rather keep on truckin’.
A registered emotional support dog and the official mascot of the Hill Country Motorheads museum in Burnet, Brew takes rides around the Highland Lakes almost daily. He also enjoys longer trips to destinations such as San Antonio and beyond.
His excitement for the road is palpable.
“If we bring out (the leathers and T-shirts), he knows we’re going bye-bye,” Diane said.
Once properly attired, the short-legged canine takes three quick hops up onto the Harley and into a small dog crate secured on the back. He’s eager and ready to go.
Brew first came to the Lenochs as a dog-sitting favor for their neighbors, who, in turn, got him from a bar owner in South Texas. The neighbors named him Lucky. When they headed out on a trip one day, they asked the Lenochs if they could watch the dog for a couple of weeks — or longer, if they wanted to keep him permanently.
Quickly attached to their new companion, they renamed him Brew Van Gogh. Brew means “farmer” in Gaelic, while Van Gogh honors the famous Dutch post-impressionist from the late 1800s.
“He’s our special guy,” Diane said of Brew. “He’s our family dog now.”
An unusual dog who stays revved for the road, Brew fits right into the eclectic lives of his owners. An avid songwriter and musician, Roy plays guitar, bass, and ukulele. He has a collection of 11 stringed instruments on display in his home.
An artist, Diane uses brush, paint, and canvas to showcase her love of the outdoors. Underwater tableaus and fish are favorite subjects.
When not playing music, painting pictures, or taking Brew for a ride, they repair and renovate homes and just about anything on wheels.
“We work on bikes and cars and building renovations and small-engine repairs of all kinds,” Roy said. “I say I’m a jack-of-all-trades, and my friends say I’m a master of none.”
Before moving to Kingsland, Roy spent 30 years as a circuit board designer, first at Motorola in Austin then in the University of Texas’s Applied Research Laboratory. He fell in love with motorcycles while working at Motorola, starting with a Yamaha Excess 1100. After rebuilding an adventure motorcycle, he traded it in for the Harley-Davidson he currently rides.
The Lenochs met 12 years ago when Diane was obtaining her diving certification with the Travis County Emergency Unit Dive Team. Roy was her guinea pig during emergency rescue training.
“She went through all the steps, she passed all the tests,” he said. “And she didn’t kill me either.”
The pair made their way to the Highland Lakes in 2011 after Roy’s father, Theodore, died and his mother, Lillian, suffered a stroke. They moved into the family home in 2012.
A new dog recently joined the family. Eight-month-old Bonny, an Australian shepherd mix, also enjoys a good motorcycle ride but has not racked up the miles that Brew has. When Brew goes on his joy rides around the neighborhood, Bonny races along with the bike.
The two dogs have very different personalities.
“Bonny has a real promise for seek-and-rescue,” said Roy, who used to raise Chesapeake Bay retrievers for fire departments.
As for Brew: “I think he knows he’s a varmint,” Roy said. “He has the terrier attitude. He likes to go with us.”