When Peggy-Lou Athorn made a promise to help greyhounds she meant it, recently chalking up a remarkable milestone by fostering more than fifty greyhounds through GRV’s Greyhound Adoption Program.
“I think I’ve just hit 52 with my little Pixie!” Peggy-Lou laughed.
Peggy-Lou’s love affair with greyhounds dates back to her schoolgirl years, when left to her own devices at Sandown while her father completed stewarding duties, although it was her other great canine passion that led her down the fostering path.
“My dad taught me to love greyhounds and bull terriers,” Peggy-Lou said.
“Many, many years ago, before the GAP had started, I had a bull terrier that got very sick and needed all the blood we could get. I asked where all the blood was coming from and was told that greyhounds are universal donors and it usually comes from them.
“So right then and there I made a promise to help greyhounds one day.
“Unfortunately my bull terrier didn’t make it and I got another one, which lived for 16 years, but when it passed away I was a bit lost, as you are, for about a year. I’d followed the progression of GAP and got on the website and saw a disabled greyhound that needed a home and thought maybe this is what I’m meant to do.”
It seems Peggy-Lou has indeed found her calling, fostering greyhounds for three to four weeks at a time as they prepare for adoption and life as a pet.
PICTURED: Peggy-Lou and one of her foster dogs Burnie.
“It’s an absolute pleasure to have them,” Peggy-Lou said.
“It’s a real roller coaster – you’re up and down the whole time – but I just love them and couldn’t be without them.
“It’s a very quick process, basically trying to show them things that we take for granted and other dogs take for granted.
“I seem to get the two-year-olds that are a little bit crazy! They never get old, they’re all babies, always naughty, always funny. They’re real cards. Even though they’re very calm and relaxed they’ve got a really funny personality. It’s quite funny watching them watch television for the first time or looking at themselves in the mirror!
“It’s not hard because they’re used to being trained and they’re used to listening. All they need is a half-hour walk each day and everybody needs that! Apart from that they’re generally pretty lazy and just want to lie around on the lounge! I try to take them everywhere I go – if I go out for dinner or lunch or to a friend’s place.
“The GAP is a fantastic program. The staff puts in a lot of time and effort and it needs to be important and it needs to be recognised. It’s very important that the public knows there is a life after racing.”
*Article written by Gerard Guthrie
PICTURED: Peggy-Lou and Santa at the Foster Carers Picnic at GAP Seymour.WATCH: Peggy-Lou’s Every Greyhound Has A Story Chapter.