It’s not every day a 10-year-old Aussie is named a champion of England.
And it’s certainly not every day the ‘youngster’ turns out to be 70 - in dog years at least - with a name like Zoom.
The athletic Australian Kelpie - a type of sheep dog - emerged victorious from two rounds at the challenging Nation’s Cup, seeing off competition from around the globe with her teammates Rogue and Dolly.
Zoom has also qualified to run in two Discover Dogs agility events in London next month, the London International Horse Show at the Olympia in London in December, and at Crufts next March.
Her proud master and trainer, Blackpool woman Nicola Wildman, described her as ‘amazing’.
“This is such a big achievement for both her and me,” the 24-year-old said. “All of these events are highly prestigious and considered to be the three biggest events on the UK agility calendar.”
This is such an achievement for both her and me
Zoom has been competing since she was around 18 months old but has never reached such dizzying heights before – nor was she expected to.
“She got an injury a couple of years ago,” Nicola said. “She wasn’t able to compete in the semi-finals at Olympia and it could have ended her agility career. We did not expect her to come back but she did and she has been absolutely fantastic.
“Crufts is the biggest event but most people would rather qualify for Olympia. It’s a horse event but they have dog agility as an event for people to cheer along to.”
Nicola, who is currently staying with her parents and long-term partner at their home in Neville Avenue, Thornton, runs Wild Paws Agility and works as an architectural assistant.
And while she has experience in dog training and handling at an international level, she admits at being surprised by Zoom’s recent success.
She said: “They don’t normally do this well at her age. She has qualified before with the exception of the Nation’s Cup, and I don’t know of any dog who has won both rounds [agility and jumping] before.”
Zoom could be seen by millions as part of the BBC’s coverage of the London International Horse Show from December 15 until 21.
This year will mark the 35th anniversary of the first appearance of dog agility at Olympia.
The ins and outs: A beginner’s guide to dog agility competitions
A relatively new form of competition, agility is the testing of a pooch’s fitness and its handler’s ability to get them over and through obstacles on a set course.
First introduced at Crufts in the late 70s, there are over 300 agility competitions licensed by the Kennel Club every year.
Fans gather to see canines navigate in and out of weave poles, run through tunnels, balance on see-saw style teeter boards, and jump through hoops or tyres. Qualifying heats for agility at Crufts are held across the country throughout the year, with the final - due to be held in March 2016 - one of three showcase events in the UK.
Categories include large, medium, and small dogs, novice handlers, teams, and flyball teams.