Michael Zollo was Bobby and Janie’s kennel help when I first became aware of him and I saw immediately that he was just a great guy who helped everyone he came around. As kennel help to Bobby, he was always there and always aided Bobby showing his van full of Dachshunds. Michael helped all he could for anyone starting out and was a nice guy to take your dogs in when you needed help in showing those dogs.
After awhile, Zollo went off and started his own kennel and became the handler for Patti Nelson (Solo’s Wires), Kaye Ladd (Laddland Smooths) and Helen and Neal Hamilton (Applehill Smooths) to get started in the Dachshund world. He also became Isabel Robson’s Pointer handler as well and that got him started as a great handler in the All Breed ring. He became a fast rising star and had the Number One dog in the USA for 1985, winning Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club in 1986 with CH Marjetta’s National Acclaim, co-owned by Mr. Zollo and Mrs. Robson. At the Westminster Show, everyone was elated for him as he was always such a nice guy and had been such a help for everyone getting started. It was a greatly appreciated win for one of the best new young handlers and made his light shine even brighter.
He started out with Pam Tillotson as an Assistant and then, when she went off on her own as a handler, he started getting some lesser assistants, but the quality of exhibits always stayed high and the dogs were winners at the shows. DCA was always a lucky show for him and his dogs as they were at their best and were always well-presented, looking their best and in great coat. He won the Wire Variety a couple of times with Patti’s great CH Solo’s Seafarer W at DCA and won several BV’s with Kaye’s bitches at some DCA Host Shows. His most famous dog, probably, was CH Bermarg’s Shoney of Boondox L who was shown by him to a couple of DCA BV wins, along with Westminster and Knickerbocker BV ‘s, BB’s and Group placings. They were quite a team and all of us were proud for Michael and Shoney and the great picture they produced of being an outstanding dog and handler combination.
Shortly after the last showing of Shoney, Michael fell ill due to the AIDS crisis hitting him and his health failed pretty quickly then. He was hospitalized and then went to Hospice for his last few months, but Michael did come back to an East Coast Show to say good-bye and to see the dogs. That was a very sad day for the Dachshund world.
Michael died shortly afterwards in 1993 and is still remembered fondly by those of us who remember what a difference he made to all who asked for his help and how gladly he offered his services. Personally, I never saw him mad or upset, but always smiling at the whole dog show game which he loved more than anyone could imagine. He was a bright spot on the path and one which we should always treasure having in our path.
Michael Zollo- 1957 to 1993