more about Zoom
August 1996

We originally intended purchasing a mate for Sally, to breed and create a Clovelly line with, so we investigated an ad in the Saturday paper, which advertised a club-listed black and white male, 9 months old. Perfect.

Sounded even better when I rang, the pup was from a very good line - one of the Club's top dogs, in fact - Avon Lea Ned Kelly, who'd taken Challenge Dog & Best Exhibit in Show at Ridgehaven (20th August, 1995) and again at Bendigo (8th October, 1995). His mother too, had won prizes.
Zoom - 12 months
When we arrived there, we found 4 dogs, Zoom, Zoom's mother and litter-sister(?), and his grandfather. They were all under-nourished and kept outside in a kennel. The lady was (and I quote) 'Breeding to help put the kids through private school - there's no good schools around here...'. Her reason for selling Zoom was that he was her son's own dog, and he had not put any effort into training or feeding and so on. True - he hadn't been trained even to sit, nor had he been fed well enough for my liking.

Anyway, I said we would take him and so we left, having left a deposit of $25.00 with the rest ($125.00) to follow by cheque - the lady wanted him gone, and we - as we always do - had not brought cash with us to purchase on first impressions. We did send the cheque, on the following day, and it was presented and honoured.

There was a Tenterfield show on, a little way from the lady's house. Against my better judgement, we opted not to take him to the show, to discuss with the club our impressions of this supposedly breeding quality dog, but to go straight home, as this poor little mite was petrified. And no wonder, he'd just been put into a van, with another dog (Sally was with us) and 2 humans he'd never seen before, ever!
September 1996

A month later, when he was 10 months of age, I took Zoom (as he was now called) to Obedience School - he was scared stiff! Gradually he improved, and became a little more relaxed when surrounded by so many people and dogs. He was still fear-urinating when we came home from shopping and what have you, but his confidence was gradually increasing. He had never been allowed inside, so I had to house train him as well at this time - it proved very frustrating, as he was an intact male, and the place stunk to high-heaven! It took nearly 4 months until he was house broken while we were home, at this stage he was still locked in the laundry when we went out.

December 1996
Zoom - 12 months
Anyhow, long story, shortened.... the dog was supposed to be breeding quality - this was assured to us by the breeder, and we felt confident that all would turn out ok, as his parents had both been quite high up in the ranks of the club. However, at 12 months of age I took him to the vet for his physical to certify him free of Luxating Patella and bite problems - alas, it was not to be... his patellas were Grade One, slight, but still impaired, and his bite was not quite right either. He was neutered the following week.
We notified the club, and they suggested contacting the breeder to obtain at least half the desexing cost back. Yes, she would post a cheque after Christmas (it was early December), for $50.00 - more than half the cost of neutering. It did not arrive, and we did not pursue it any further, except to let the club know. Soon after we heard (grapevine, of course) that she had attempted to register 3 litters from the same bitch within less than 18 months... pointing to overbreeding, and that the club was no longer accepting litter registrations from that breeder's prefix (this statement was NOT obtained through official club channels - it was purely gossip).

Well, we had a dog that was no good for what we intended - breeding - yet Sally was due to come into season. Sally was eventually bred to Fernlodge Digger - her story can be found here. He was coming along with training, and I planned to continue with him at Dover Gardens Obedience and Kennel Club after the Christmas break, but we decided that best thing to do would be to sell him, when the pups came along. He was not attached to us like Sally was, was rather standoffish and was still petrified if anyone raised their voice at all.

March 1997

Life goes on....

Of course, when the puppies arrived at the end of March, Zoom was doing extremely well at training having graduated from Basic to Intermediate on his first attempt, and we had grown attached to this little scrawny bundle of energy. I wouldn't have parted with him for all the tea in China - Sally adored him, he was great with the pups when they started running around and he was good exercise for James and myself. (If you know Zoom, you'll know what I mean!!) He was by now firmly entrenched in our lives, and I couldn't put the little bugger through changing lives so drastically as he had at 9 months of age again.

April 1998

After a long break away from Obedience (with young puppies ruling the house, summer holidays and work all interfering), we graduated from Intermediate at Dover on our first attempt, and are now in Advanced (off-lead, yippee!). Yesterday, we attended Agility Training at Dover for the first time, and it was fantastic! (We do need to get our confidence up to get through that tunnel, though!) Dover limits Agility classes to dogs who are at least Novice level, and therefore have proven that they are very well controlled by their owners, however after being watched as we ran through some quick offlead work to warm up, we were allowed to stay and participate.
Zoom is now reasonably well-adjusted. He is terribly afraid of anything like chains, cutlery or keys that makes a 'clinking' sound, however, so I do not use a check chain for training. I don't think he will ever be rid of this fear entirely, and it does concern me that something may have happened in the past, which has terrified him so when he hears similar sounds, he cowers. He is stand-offish with all dogs to the point of aggression or complete fear (except of course his Sally-girl and her daughter Abby). He is also very wary of people, particularly men and children that he does not know. Obedience training is helping him overcome this fear.
Zoom - 4 years
July 1998

Zoom graduated from Advanced to Novice in July, 1998. We're now "in training" for the Prelims - when we conquer our fears about 'Stand for Exam' we shall go forward!!!

November 1998
At his annual vet visit for shots at 2 years of age, he was diagnosed with a heart murmur. Fortunately it IS slight, and he shouldn't show any symptoms until he is right into old age. My only thought is 'What next?'....

February 1999
Zoom - 5 years
Zoom and I began training for Agility Trials and working towards the CD (Companion Dog) award at the start of 1999. Zoom had a very relaxing break from 'school' and I hoped to have some big achievements under my belt with him this year. He has continued to lose his fearful streak and is less agitated around people he does not know. I had hoped to have him doing a rock-solid Stand For Exam by the end of March, however this did not eventuate.

During the 98-99 Festive Season holidays, we spent 10 days away from home camping with friends and their children. Zoom has begun to trust children much more than when he first joined our family, and by the end of our time away we were happy to see that he was approaching the kids for pats and ball games very confidently. (point to note : children get sick of throwing a ball much more quickly than an adult, so he was fortunate that there were half a dozen children about - one of whom was always ready to throw his ball for him!!) Despite Zoom's improvement he will never be left alone with children - I firmly believe dogs and children must always be supervised when together.
The views I developed after many months of research with respect to vaccinations and diet have meant that we could not continue at school - where a current vaccination certificate is required to participate. I have continued to train with Zoom on an informal basis - but until the community's views about vaccination change we will not be able to continue training in a formal sense. It is highly probable that Zoom will not return to school in his lifetime, which is a pity for a dog that showed so much potential, particularly in Agility, which we both enjoyed.
October 2005

Zoom now enjoys annoying our rescued JRT Thomas, and soaking up the sun. He still loves his Kong and enjoys a game although at nearly 10 years of age, his eyesight is failing now and he's not as good a catch as he used to be. Zoom prefers sleeping in the sun with Sally to walks these days, though he's still quick to tease Saluki Moss whenever he fancies it.
Zoom - 6.5 years

Check out Zoom's favourite toy - at the KONG company website.
There's a pic of Zoom in the Gallery with his Kong!

And a 'toon that describes Zoomie's life just perfectly!

From Today's Cartoon by Randy Glasbergen, posted with special permission.
Be sure to visit Randy's Home Page for a brand new cartoon every day and much more!
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