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PEACE LOVE & FONZIE

GCHG Sunburst One Cool Dude BN, RE, OAP, AJP, PT, CGC, VCX+CH, ROM

Fonzie’s story begins with another dog, “Ace,” a puppy that we placed with Sharon Crawford of Sunburst Shelties in Arizona in 2004. We realized that we lived too far away (Florida) to probably ever breed one of our girls with Ace so we told Sharon we would be interested in a nice puppy from him sometime down the road. Sharon told us that she thought she could get a ROM on Ace and we smiled and thought she was a dreamer.

Fonzie at his first Puppy Match

So in October 2007, Sharon called and said she had a male puppy for us who was an Ace grandson. I flew out early in the morning from Tampa to Arizona and Sharon picked me up at the airport. She took me to her house to see her dogs and I fell in love with the puppy. I flew back home that same day with the puppy in the Sherpa bag under my seat. I had a layover in Dallas for a few hours, and while we waited I went to our gate and took him out of the Sherpa bag and sat on the floor and played with him. Pretty soon folks came over to see him and to play with him and the puppy just loved it. Nothing seemed to bother him and he loved being the center of attention. I talked to April on the cell phone at the airport and she was anxious to know what I thought of him. I just remember telling her he was just one cool dude. He took everything in stride and just seemed to smile at everyone he met.

Fonzie is One Cool Dude

We spent a week or so trying to figure out what to name this puppy and kept coming back to “one cool dude,” and so it stuck. We then tried to figure out the name of the coolest person we knew and anyone from our generation would instantly say, “the Fonz.” So Fonzie he became.

Fonzie grew up at April’s house and anyone that knew April knew she was very competitive. She started training him at a young age. April adored Fonzie and he adored her. In February 2008, we entered him in an all-breed puppy match and he took Best Puppy in Match. In March 2008 we entered Fonzie in his first specialty show and he took Best Puppy in Sweeps. Later that same weekend at the all-breed show he took his first major win. In May 2008 at 9 months of age, we entered him at an all-breed show that also had a best puppy competition. Fonzie took Best of Breed at the regular conformation show and won the Herding Group! We were so excited. He also took Best Puppy and a Puppy Group 1. Before the Best in Show competition, there was a big discussion at ringside with the American Kennel Clup rep and some of the show officials. We later found out that they were discussing which should happen first, BIS Puppy or BIS for the regular conformation show, and it centered around Fonzie, who took a Group 1 in both. Fonzie handled it all with ease, loved every minute of it and never tired out that day. He was a trooper, but no BIS ribbons for him that day. After that, April and Fonzie were off and running – showing at the Florida shows and doing rather well.

Fonzie at the ASSA National Specialty with April Dunford

April kept showing Fonzie and he kept winning. He soon had a group of folks who followed him and cheered for him at shows. Our good friends Karen and Kevin Alderman fell in love with him as well, and they became his co-owners. Karen’s job was to get him stretched out and relaxed before the shows. She would give him doggie massages and he loved it. In June 2008, Fonzie finished his championship title at 11 months of age.

Fonzie at Westminster KC with April Dunford

We bred Fonzie. He had some nice pups that we kept and some we placed with friends. We started to show the Fonzie kids, they got points, and then majors and then championships. Others started to breed to Fonzie and they were showing Fonzie kids. We got very excited and told Sharon that we thought we could get a ROM on Fonzie. I’m sure she smiled and thought we were dreaming too. But as it turned out, Sharon was right. Ace (Ch Summerloves Ace Up Your Sleeve), did get his ROM in 2013 and that just made April work that much harder, showing the Fonzie kids and encouraging others to show their Fonzie kids. And, in 2014, Fonzie got his ROM too – who knew?

First Best in Show :: November 2010 :: Handled by April Dunford

Fonzie took his first Best in Show in November 2010 with April showing him. He took his second Best in Show in March 2012 and third Best in Show May 2012 with Gina Grosso showing him. Around that time, April had trouble showing him herself as her health had begun to deteriorate. But April still went to the shows, groomed him up and coached from the sidelines. They were a team! And in November 2012 Fonzie won his 100th best of Breed with April taking him around the ring one time and Gina stepping in to do the rest. His fans were all there to cheer him on – it was a great day!

Fonzie's third Best in Show :: May 2012 :: Handled by Gina Grosso
Fonzie takes 100th Best of Breed :: November 2012
Fonzie passed his zest for life onto his kids

Fonzie performance kids were doing him proud too. They competed in Agility, Obedience and Rally. Fonzie seemed to pass his zest for life, his drive, work attitude and outgoing temperament down to his kids. And not to be outdone by his kids, Fonzie soon competed along with them in the performance ring. In 2013, he earned his Rally titles with Jan Erickson training and showing him. In 2015 and 2016, he earned his Agility titles with Diane Miles training and showing him. And in November 2016, he earned his Herding title with Angie McCrann training and showing him. In 2017, he was awarded his ASSA VCX+Ch title. Sadly April had passed away in March of 2016. But her friends kept their promise to her and finished Fonzie’s performance titles. I’m sure April would have been very happy knowing that her dreams for Fonzie came true.

Fonzie is now retired and living a life of leisure with his co-owners Karen and Kevin Alderman in Ocala, Florida. He spends his retirement swimming, hiking, eating Starbucks puppuccinos and traveling with them on their vacations. He is spoiled and loving every minute of it.

Fonzie is sired by Ch Sunburst Oasis Hey Dude, out of Ch Sunburst Mercy Me

By Lorrie Reed :: Summerlove Shelties :: lorriereed@tampabay.rr.com

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