ONCE A dog lover, always a dog lover. So when 83-year-old Sally Wicker read about the plight of abandoned greyhounds she knew she had to act.
While many octogenarians would say "I'm too old" to adopt a greyhound, Sally from Tuross Heads in NSW South Coast didn't and went on to save a dog's life as well as changing her own.
"Being elderly but an avid dog lover, I wanted a quiet and gentle companion but not a puppy. A newspaper article on the many rescue greyhounds needing a home seemed to give the answer," said Sally, who went on to adopt her dog Megsy from Sydney charity Greyhound Rescue early this year.
"When she arrived Megsy was quite nervous and sat in the shower recess for a little while. Coaxing her out quietly with pats and a treat, she finally wagged her tail," said widow Sally, who had lost her husband the year before.
Basic training is often needed for rescue greyhounds, many of whom had never been a pet before. Sally said it had taken a little time and patience for Megsy to feel at home, but it had been completely worthwhile.
"Now Megsy's a treasured and loving member of the family we are a mutual admiration society. I can't imagine life without her sweet and gentle presence."
Sally said Megsy's presence helped her following the death of her husband.
"Megsy knows if I'm down and just comes over and puts her head on my knee. It makes all the difference," said Sally.
She said because Megsy is an older greyhound, she doesn't want to walk too far each day.
"I'm a very active person in my eighties who walks a few kilometres each day. Megsy makes it very clear after about one kilometre she's had enough. An older dog can be perfect for older people," Sally said.
Great pets for all ages
Greyhound Rescue co-founder Peter Flann said the charity now has over 50 dogs needing adoption or foster care.
"Greyhounds make great pets for all ages. They are gentle 70-km per hour couch potatoes. We have many wonderful greyhounds being cared for in our kennels. They need permanent homes or fostering in temporary homes," he said.
"Greyhounds shed very little hair, have no 'doggie smell' and need just a 20-minute walk each day, but like most dogs are happy to do more."
Adoption costs $350. This goes toward the cost of de-sexing, vaccination and a full health check.