Posted in memories, Stories

The other side of Gabriel

Photo by Don Agnello on Unsplash

A low gutteral growl. A show of teeth and a lunge. A cry of terror. Gabriel had him pinned up against the wall!

I never knew he had it in him.

I’ve written about Gabriel before. When Lisa and I moved to Baltimore for my vicarage, we stopped in Ridley Park to pick up my Labrador retriever Gabriel who had been living with my dad for two years. I couldn’t have a dog in the seminary dorm, so we let him chase squirrels around the yard with my dad’s dog Barney.

Gabriel was solid, mild mannered, a great swimmer and a champion ball retriever. I never imagined him to be much of a guard dog. Although when anyone sees you walking or running with a large dog, they do tend to give you some extra room.

I’m pretty sure it was our first day in Baltimore. We pulled up to our house at the end of the row next door to the church. After a quick stop in the yard, we brought Gabe in. We didn’t think much of the man repairing the lock on the side door. Neither did Gabe, and he let the guy know it. He rushed him with fierce barking, angry teeth and his best “you better get your butt out of here” growl. The poor guy backed up to the wall with a look of terror on his face as I pulled Gabe away. I had never seen this side of him before!

But it was a blessing. Word got around about the big dog in the house and no one ever really bothered us. Except all the neighborhood kids who wanted to run around the yard with him. Once, when my wife had gone grocery shopping, she had him sit in the doorway as she carried in the bags. A stranger offered to help her, but took one look at Gabe and changed his mind.

Good dog!

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