Some years ago, about 1971, while living on a ranch in Northern California, I agreed to take on the responsibility of the care and training of a dog. One afternoon I walked into an animal shelter in Sebastopol. As soon as I entered the kennel a little white and black spotted puppy claimed me as savior. To be sure I looked at all the other dogs but none told me, “I’m the one.” After the red tape of adoption I brought this puppy home to our ranch.
My girlfriend named him Gabriel and it stuck. He became my constant companion for years. Soon after getting him from the Humane Society the veterinarian told me how sick he was. Distemper with worms made him weak and, as he was only months old, treatment had to be a careful business. I would give him half an aspirin for his fever and feed him an egg with meat at every feeding. Quickly he got better and showed the obvious good breeding of a hunting dog.
Our sixteen acre ranch had a huge downhill pasture behind the barn where we would spend hours playing fetch. He became healthy and strong, very strong. He would play fetch with a six foot fence post.
Nearby I found a 1964 Porsche 356 SC coupe that was left to die in a field overgrown with weeds. For those who don’t know what this is, this car was the culmination of the legendary 356 series Porsche — the most powerful and advanced of a run of Porsche models that started in 1931. It had faded paint, no brakes, and a four cylinder engine that only ran on three. With no hesitation I found the owner and purchased it, cheap by anyone’s standards.
I fixed the brakes and started driving it on three cylinders thinking it was plenty powerful. Then I removed and disassembled the engine for inspection. At one point I had the engine in my kitchen for cleaning. This was my first Porsche rebuild and the first time I did everything I wanted to do to an engine. A full race Porsche engine, for the gear-head that I am, was like WOW, what fun to drive.
Gabriel and I cruised the Sonoma County roads. He would fill up the entire back jump seat with dog nose prints all over the rear windows. Gabriel would stand on all fours, watch the road, anticipate the bends and lean into the turns. On occasion though, he would be upside down in the back.
When I had to park the Porsche and leave Gabriel alone in it, I had total confidence that no one would try to steal it. No one could even touch it without a warning growl from my protector. Once a deputy sheriff quickly retrieved his hand from my window when Gabriel went ballistic.
We were a threesome, me, my dog and my Porsche, and those were great times.