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Local dog makes it on national TV

By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
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When Steven Ponzo received an English bulldog puppy for Christmas two years ago, he was happy to be bringing a new family member to his Granite Bay home. Little did the Ponzo family know that Tank, as he was aptly named, possessed a talent that would land him on national television. The family recently discovered the 16-month-old, 54-pound pup has a knack for an exercise regimen normally found in a Pilates or yoga studio — working out his core. Tank started doing sit-ups about five months ago and Steven Ponzo, Tank’s primary owner, says he can now do them “on command.” Tank’s hankering for staying fit has landed him a spot on “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” and soon his talent will be broadcast for all the nation to see. Tank’s episode was originally scheduled to air Sunday night on ABC. However, due to a last-minute scheduling change, producers of the television show notified the Ponzo family Friday that it will instead be broadcast sometime in the near future. While the Ponzo family could not reveal the final results of the episode due to a vow of secrecy until the show airs, they can say that Tank was chosen as a top-three finalist. If Tank takes top honors as the No. 1 video, the Ponzos take home a cool $10,000. Second place pays $3,000 and the third place winner takes home $2,000. “We can’t reveal the results until the show airs,” said Steven’s mother, Tracy Ponzo. “But we can guarantee it is going to be exciting.” The Ponzo family discovered Tank’s flair for fitness when Steven, a student at Granite Bay High School, came home from wrestling practice about five months ago. He was rough housing with Tank when the dog rolled over on his back and began trying to bite Steven’s hand. “It looked like he was doing sit ups,” said Steven’s sister Marcie Ponzo, who said she has helped out with training the dog since day one. “It was like he did it on command, so we just played along with it. It’s pretty funny.” Marcie said she took out her mother’s laptop computer and recorded Tank working out his “core.” At first, the family posted the video on Facebook and received so many comments that they decided to send it to the “America’s Funniest Home Videos” website. “We didn’t hear back from them for like two months,” Marcie Ponzo said. “And then randomly one day my dad got a call. They asked if we were able to come to LA that weekend.” Tracy Ponzo and her husband Jerry, who were in Las Vegas at the time, were flown out to Los Angeles while Marcie and her brother drove from Granite Bay because they didn’t want to fly with the dog. The Ponzos will find out next week if they are eligible for “America’s Funniest Home Videos’” $100,000 grand prize. The Press Tribune will notify its readers at www.rosevillept.com when Tank’s episode will be broadcast. Toby Lewis can be reached at tobyl@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TobyLewis_RsvPT.