My Best Friend Fonz
Three days ago Fonzie was a happy and healthy 13 year old German Shepherd. He never showed any signs of old age except for being a little hard of hearing. He loved looking for mice and rabbits and squirrels when I would walk him and his brother Ranger in the yard. He also looked forward to me jogging with him in the morning if it was nice out. He was not much into playing ball or frisbee, or doing fancy tricks, but what he really excelled at was being my best friend. In this he specialized. Ever since he was a puppy, he would do whatever it took to be next to me. He had to be physically touching me if sitting next to my side. Or he would pass up eating I wasn't in his sight. If I left his line of vision when I was working outside he would bark at me- a nice bark like get over here where I can keep an eye on you. I have had German Shepherds all my life and all of them were my best friends, but Fonzie took loyalty to a new and higher standard.
My former girlfriend was originally Fonzie's owner and she named him Fonzie because he kept his cool even when picked on by other puppies in the litter. He was the most curious and he was one of two runts of the litter. He was born with a hole in his heart that made a sound you could hear from across a room. The vet said with the right attention it might heal properly, but he won't get too athletic.
When I think of it, Fonz and I were much alike. When he gained weight so did I; when I lost weight so did he. He loved pulling me on my sled dog bike, and overcame his athletic challenges. Not so with his big brother Ranger.
When I learned that he was going to get shot if he chased any more chickens out at my ex-girlfriends farm, I wasted no time to go get him. I remember turning into the long driveway at the farm and seeing Fonzie go wild on his short chain. He was so excited to see me I couldn't get him unhooked. But when I did, he ran straight to my truck and jumped aboard. The rest was history. I occasionally would take him to my jobsites because he was a good helper and companion. I could tell many more stories of Fonzie, but only I can really appreciate them.
April 20, 2010