Introducing Zazu, our very own truffle dog!
Introducing Zazu our very own truffle dog, a lanky black 3-year-old bundle of kelpie and border collie, he was rescued and delivered from SE Queensland via Nathan of OzK9 Detection and Training in Darwin just in time for the start of 2018’s truffle season.
It had been quite a journey and quite a transition, commencing in Darwin where the average June temperature is a hound-friendly 20 C to Ganymede Farm near Goulburn. The morning he arrived it was -5⁰C.
Zazu and Canvassing Names
Whilst waiting impatiently for Zazu’s arrival we canvassed changing his name. Ex-husband and co-owner David was non-committal. I considered changing to Zeus (ingenious I thought given the name Ganymede). Daughter Alex thought of calling him Mr T (‘I Pity the truf-Fool’) for the white T marking on his chest whilst son Lachie, concerned about confusing him, was adamantly happy with the name as it was. When we met, all thought of changing his name ceased. Nathan’s son named him well, he actually is a Zazu. To give you an idea of his personality, think Tigger from Winnie the Pooh.
Zazu was initially trained for a youth detention drug detection role but for reasons I cannot now remember (perhaps too friendly?!), he was retrained for truffle detection by Nathan, who is ex-Australian Military. The cold frosty morning of Zazu’s arrival was also the day of his inaugural truffle hunt where he performed spectacularly well, more than we could ever have imagined! See attached photo – Zazu and his first harvest of truffles. If his personality hadn’t won us over, his (for us) record-breaking haul most certainly would!
Hunting with Zazu is such a delight. Initially, David began with him on lead but over the course of the 2018 season, both can now be trusted off leash (and David off leash is a sight to behold). Owning your own dog also gives you so much more freedom (much like ex-husbands). If you have to rely on someone else’s dog then you hunt when they are available.
Practically speaking, a windless morning is an ideal time to hunt as the scent of the truffles – which emerges in the chill of the night, is still distinct. Any sort of steady breeze can throw the truffle scent way off track and on a windy day, it’s not unusual to see Zazu double back to rows he has previously ignored, as he catches scent. The other remarkable aspect we’ve discovered is the depth of truffles we’ve been excavating. Initially doubtful as the digging delved deeper and deeper, with many prompts to Zazu to “show me” to confirm, David has dug down as far as 20cm. We have now developed a credo, in Zazu We Trust (to locate the truffle).
The sense of smell in all dogs is their primary doorway to the world around them. Robert Craig