Illustrated by Jane Ostler
Brogo Books Australia, 2020
This charming tale of a recue greyhound recounts the (mostly) true story of the author’s adoption of her dog Swifty through Greyhound Connections, a voluntary Canberra based organisation that rehomes former racing greyhounds.
Told in rhyme and in a lightly humorous way that’s sure to appeal to children listeners, the story follows Swifty’s adjustment to domestic life. While she gently shows the reader the peccadilloes of a dog getting used to living in a home with a family, Marilyn also reveals the darker side of Swifty’s former life – living in a cage, losing all her rotten teeth, feeling afraid.
The constant fear of the new owner that Swifty will run away emphasises the need to be very careful to make sure she feels loved and comfortable in her new strange state of domestic pethood. Swifty wears a coat in winter just like her human companions. The joyous denouement of a happy well-adjusted retired racing dog delights us all.
Marilyn Chalkley has told a serious story in a highly accessible, empathetic and appealing way. Perhaps we might expect this from someone with the sort of open and generous heart that inspires the adoption of a rescue animal. Adults and children will enjoy this book and the artist has created a series of evocative illustrations sensitively showing the many moods of the dog and her people.
Marilyn is donating 10 per cent of proceeds from sales of Swifty the Greyhound to Greyhound Connections. You can find more about this organisation here: http://greyhoundconnections.com.au/