UPDATE: Drake is home from surgery and doing well.
It is this April Fool's birthday tomorrow and my best friend, Drake Burkart the Akita Labrador, is in surgery right now overnight for a torn ACL.
The TPLO procedure is hopefully not life-threatening, but I am very upset anyway to see him in such pain.
Therefore, is a very emotional day for me, so I am going back to some all-time favorites for car-news comfort.
Here is Drake. As an American Akita breed, he is something like the GT-R in many ways. Akitas in the US were generally bred with Bloodhounds due to lack of other Akitas to select from. In the 1970s, Labrador retrievers added some fresh genes to the pool.
Drake actually founded and ran a (very) small business a few summers ago building custom benches on the Chicago dog beach -- something he did to help heal his owner after a previous setback.
Drake is a very strong and powerful bear-hunting dog, but also the warmest and most nurturing spirit you will ever find in a canine.
Drake knows when anyone is hurt or hurting, but will rarely (if ever) show weakness himself.
He has been especially magnificent in turning Tank the Shepherd Shiba mix into a kinder dog than he started life as. Ballroom lessons shown below.
A little-known fact about this Akita breed of dog?
The first Akita in North American came home with Helen Keller after her whirlwind tour of Japan in the 1930s - bestowed upon her as a most honorable gift by her Japanese hosts. After her first puppy sadly did not reach adulthood, Ms. Keller again was honored by Kenzan-Go, her second Japanese Akita, shown below. (Source)
She called the Akita dogs "Angels in Fur" for their unwavering assistance -- typically for rehabilitating the gravely injured.
Shortly after Kenzan-Go joined Helen Keller's life in America, World War II began and relations turned ice-cold between our two countries.
A rare gesture of peace in world that has always been, and may always be, very frightening.
Above: Biltmore Estate -- very dog friendly andd efinitely work a visit in Asheville, NC. Largest single home in North or South America. Great duck-filled lake on the grounds too.
Drake has filled this role for me over the last several years, and I cannot think of life without him by my side.
A direct descendant of Kenzan-Go, Drake Burkart is very special objectively; but much more so to me.
As is the Nissan GT-R.
Second (semi-interesting) article note: I took all these photos in early September 2013. My car photography talent has significantly improved since then. Same camera, but better operator skills.
This is the 2013 model, which was and is just fine by me. The Nissan GT-R is the best and fastest sports car I had/have ever driven. It was so challenging that I really only nibbled the surface of its abilities. But I was hooked before I drove it, felt faint actually driving it, and am still in awe a full seven months afterward.
Even right after the E63 AMG and its 3.8-second hammer-time to 60-mph, the GT-R was another breed of car altogether with power like nothing you have ever imagined.
Stunning and magnificent, The GT-R left me quivering like a leaf for months afterward. It also makes every almost every other fast car seem like a Toyota Yaris with four flat tires in terms of its handling and sheer ferocity under full power. At least, every fast car I have driven so far, that is.
Afr0-Cuban Jazz Soundtrack -- Audio-Synced Photo Slideshow