Visit to Ballina pound led to lifelong love of the doggies
THERE'S not many of us who have found our life's calling in a dog pound - but Pat Lavis did.
The Tregeagle owner/trainer, who is aiming for more success with Me Can Do in this Friday's $31,000 484m Charcoal Inn Casino Cup, recruited his first dog way back in 1972 while visiting the Ballina pound.
Although After Billy did not turn out to be a champion, it was the start of a real labour of love for Lavis.
"He wasn't a world beater," Lavis said. "He was in the pound for a reason.
"I had never thought about greyhound racing before. I didn't even know it existed.
"There was just something about him that made me think, 'I'll have a go' - and he won his first race by seven lengths.
"He didn't go on to any great heights, but that was the start of it for me."
Lavis has spent most of the last four decades in the sport, enjoying his latest big win earlier this year when Bogan Miss took the $4000 Casino RSM Beef Week Cup.
"I think some people think I'm mad, the amount of work I do," he said.
"It's that feeling you get when it all comes together. There's nothing like it.
"I've always been competitive.
"When I was younger I was into football, boxing and other sports.
"It's just stuck with me.
"Sometimes I think this is what I was born to do."
Two-year-old Me Can Do is the sister of Bogan Miss and has a special place in the heart of Lavis.
"That's my attitude," he said. "Me Can Do - I can do it.
"If I'm having a bad run, I just work harder."
Lavis said he was "devastated" by the draw for Friday's race, which has handed his dog an unfavourable box eight start.
Although still "hopeful", Lavis tipped box three runner Royal Rowdy as the one to watch for the $25,000 top prize.
"She is fast early and goes straight to the rail," he said.
"Someone will have to run very fast to beat her.
"I'm not cocky about my chances, but I'm hopeful."
Box 1: Dayseas Jet
Box 2: Cosmic Blackjack
Box 3: Royal Rowdy
Box 4: Boyanna
Box 5: Glamour Row
Box 6: Sassy Dior
Box 7: Glenreagh Rocket
Box 8: Me Can Do
Reserves: Wild Roses, Elavena
Boyanna (Box Four): Has gone well in decent metropolitan fields and is in consistent form.