(This is the first in a series of blogs recounting fond memories from members of the Sunridge Foundation, the precursor to today’s Fountain Hills Community Foundation.)

“Since the Sunridge Foundation’s fundraising efforts launched in 1995, one of the favorite live auction items quickly became the adorable “Sunridge Puppy”. The dinner committee would assign one of their members the task of finding a loveable, huggable, irresistible bundle of fur that every soft heart in attendance would want to take home that night. In 2004 I happened to be on the Sunridge Board and Sharon Morgan was on the dinner committee and the member in charge of finding the perfect puppy. I started giving Sharon a hard time about the fact that all the Sunridge puppies had been little “foo foo”, lap dogs, prompting her to break the trend and look for a “real” dog……the size of which you could pet without bending down. Well, leave it to Sharon….but didn’t she go out and find one of the designer dogs of the hour, a labradoodle. Named Puppy Love by the breeder, he was a 4 month old cream colored pup whose dad was a standard white poodle and mom a yellow lab.

The Gala in 2004 took place at the FireRock Country Club, had a western theme and was blessed with beautiful weather so the attendees enjoyed an inside/outside venue. Naturally I volunteered to work the crowd introducing the star of the night to everyone there….he clearly understood what his role was, making nice with all we encountered. But it was clear he had a plan….after he did his meet and greet, he sat down right next to me and leaned against my leg. It didn’t take long for me to point this out to husband Bruce who could see the handwriting on the wall.

When the time came for bidding to begin on the puppy, my posture on the platform pretty much proclaimed ownership! Between badgering Bruce to bid and the auctioneer to say “sold” the live auction of 2004 was beyond lively and became one to remember. Puppy Love quickly became Einstein, grew into a 90 pound gentle giant that lived with us forever after for the next 12 years.”