May 16, 2019
People & Places

“Hero Dog” Billy’s new lease of life

While SA is a state of animal lovers, sadly some pets don’t receive the care and protection they deserve. One little dog’s second chance has been life-changing for everyone involved.

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When paws are pounding on the pavement at RSPCA’s Million Paws Walk this weekend, proud parents Lisa Weber and Trasden Kowalick will be reflecting on just how far their Billy has come.

The Maltese terrier cross has been named this year’s “Hero Dog” ­– a status he richly deserves.


Billy was found, malnourished, matted and dejected in a suburban back yard in late 2017. When RSPCA SA inspector Craig received the call-out, he didn’t know what to expect. “I vividly remember seeing him that first time, lying in his kennel with a look of total defeat on his face, his head rested on his two front paws,” Craig says.

“I called him and he raised his dirty matted face and stared at me for a few seconds.

“It wasn’t until I crouched down and called him over again that his tail began to wag and he walked over to me. It was like he initially couldn’t believe someone was actually talking to him and paying him some attention … it really broke my heart.”

Billy was found malnourished, matted and dejected.

Billy had fallen victim to a family breakdown and wasn’t getting the care he deserved. With rotting teeth and infected ears, he was almost emaciated.

Ahead of him was a long road to recovery with RSPCA SA’s vet team. Billy didn’t move while his filthy fur was being shaved; he simply lay there, dejected.

“But once he’d been shaved and washed, it was like he was reborn and his personality started to come back,” says Craig.

“He turned into a sprightly boy with a prance in his step. I was amazed as I’d thought we were treating an old, decrepit dog on his last legs.”

RSPCA SA inspector Craig. Photograph Ryan Jiannis.

Craig went home that day with a smile on his face, confident that Billy would find a new home.

In stepped Lisa and Trasden, and Billy’s fur-sister, Peggie Sue. They’ll all be at Million Paws Walk at Victoria Park, on Sunday, May 19, having seen the second chance at life on offer to animals around South Australia first-hand.

RSPCA SA is calling on the public to help them reach their target of $240,000, which will assist them in caring for the 9000 abandoned, injured, sick and abused animals that come into their care each year.

Billy safe and warm in bed, in his new home.
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