Robyn McCalman with greyhound dogs Gus, Chub and Thiaday.
Robyn McCalman with greyhound dogs Gus, Chub and Thiaday. John Gass

Greyhounds are the best according to vet nurse

ROBYN McCalman is a veterinarian nurse with 31 years experience at the Murwillumbah Veterinarian Clinic.

"No matter what, it's a 6am start seven days a week, the dogs get exercised first every morning, then fed and we've got 14 greyhounds," she said.

The McCalman family are greyhound breeders. When I spoke with her she had been up all night delivering a litter of nine puppies - three were breech - and sometimes there are up to 12 in a litter.

"It's a family affair. There are two generations of us living on the farm, we love the dogs and breed and race them.

"It's a lot of fun. Also we get to travel to race meetings and talk greyhounds.

"It's very social and as a veterinarian nurse there's always someone I can help with a bit of advice," Robyn said.

Their passion for dogs comes at a financial cost however.

I asked if the prize money was an incentive.

"No, it helps when we win but our dogs' weekly meat bill is $250. Luckily we run cows so occasionally we can use one of these, then there are the supplements and vitamins."

Robyn McCalman with dogs Gus, Chub and Thiaday.
Robyn McCalman with dogs Gus, Chub and Thiaday. John Gass

I asked about the life

style. "Well it's a lifelong hobby for us and we're very close to the dogs.

"They become like family pets. We're here seven days, someone's always got to be here to feed and exercise them.

"Our farms are a combination of flats and steep hills and this builds up their strength and endurance, it gives us a good workout too."

The McCalmans are especially proud of their top dog Naughty As, which has won a greyhound of the year award for the past two years.

There's a generalisation about greyhounds that they're an unpredictable breed, should be muzzled and only suitable for racing, I asked Robyn.

"That's quite wrong," she said.

"We've always had our children around them, they make great pets. They're bright and alert, they have a gentle nature



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