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The name Zoey means God's Life.

This is the true story of Zoey the Elkhound's life. It is neither fairy tale or fiction. It is the true story of a very special little girl.

God's Life - The meaning of her name was unknown at the time of giving but was to prove to be very apt indeed as her nature, character and life transpired.

Here she tells her own story of the events, happenings, joys and pleasures of heart rending times she endured for the love of her master:

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Chapter One

My story begins in a little village in the North East of Scotland. You will see on a map that we are not far away from the famous River Dee and Royal Deeside, which I got to know much later when I was fully grown. As a pup I was one of four, two brothers and one sister who arrived just half an hour before me. We were lucky to have a lovely and caring mother who fed and looked after us. Having said that I must point out that she was also a firm disciplinarian and stood no nonsense from any of us pups.

At first we more or less just lay about and slept when we weren't either being fed or washed. In fact to be honest eating was our main concern in those first few weeks. We were a ravenous foursome to say the least.

Our eyes opened after about four or five days and soon we began to stagger about on our own little fat legs though we found it difficult to keep our balance. We were always falling over each other but after a few weeks we really started to romp about. It wasn't long before we realised that many of our neighbours in the kennels didn't like us at all. Some had longer legs and floppy ears not like ours, which pricked, up straight from our heads. A lot of them had strange long tails, which wagged. This was very puzzling until one day our mother explained with some pride that we came from an ancestry far older than theirs. Direct descendants of Stone Age animals, which lived four or five thousand years before Christ. In fact we discovered that we were Norwegian Elkhounds. This was very special to us, as humans had found skeletons of our breed in the famous Gokstad ship, which can be seen to this day at Oslo museum. Man had even carved pictures of us on the bowls from which they drank and fed. I must say we all felt rather proud of our history but were we called Elkhounds? Over the next few days our mother told us that after many centuries had passed Norwegian hunters, trained us and used us first to hunt Bear and today our Norse masters used us to help stalk Moose. On a hunt we ranged far and wide our noses searching the frosty air. So we had a lot to live up to. But in the kennels in Banchory (Devenick), we had moved on from suckling our mother to solid food, which must have made life a lot easier for her. But she was always there to see to it that we were clean and didn't get too boisterous. As we would rumble, tumble chew at each other in a friendly way but on occasions we might just bite one another a little too hard and some on the receiving end would let out a yelp. That's when mother would put her foot down. All would be quiet for a minute or two, and then off we would go again. These were lovely days playing, feeding or just lying in the sun.

All this was about to change, it wasn't so very long before the days grew shorter and the nights longer. There wasn't so much sun now and it was growing colder. I was glad that unlike so many other dogs' coats, my soft and woollier underneath hair was topped by a strong, thick and almost bushy topcoat, beautifully adapted to the snow and ice I was told. The deep ruff around my shoulders was beginning to show and my silver, grey colour was much admired. I was also growing much bigger stronger and quite stocky.

This sample chapter has been reproduced at with kind permission of the author David Stuart-Calder.

Read about David Stuart-Calder. There is a list of stockists of the book Zoey where you can continue to read about her adventures. Profits from the sale of the book (5) will be donated to Aberdeenshire Charities.

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