The joys of greyhound ownership have been a welcome relief for Williams, who has endured a torrid twelve months with the tragic loss of her daughter, who she calls on for inspiration every day.
“I lost my daughter Natalie (Ward) to epilepsy last year, she was only 29 - a life which was far too short,” Williams said.
“Going through something like that obviously takes the wind out of your sails, but after a while you realise that Natalie would have wanted me to keep on living an active life and I went in search of a bitch to buy to keep my mind active and myself motivated.”
Williams had a set of criteria she wanted her young bitch to meet and after an arduous search finally found her greyhound, and she didn’t have to worry about names either.
“I wanted a bitch that could run 520 metres, so I could go on and breed with her once racing was over,” Williams said.
“I’d been searching for quite a while and they’re not easy to find, but I really think Natalie helped steer me to her when I found her through mutual friends.
“The next step was the cost and we finally came to a deal as long as I named the bitch Canya Kick per original owner Toby Weekes’ request.
“They wanted the name because they were sponsoring a young girl who was looking to play soccer for Australia and wanted to name a greyhound after her, they tried Canya Kickit and got knocked back, so she became Canya Kick.”
Williams said there were early concerns with Canya Kick when she was running very slow times in her early trials, but a trip to the vet cleared that up.
“I was rapt to get her but came down to earth pretty quickly once Kerry and Ian started trialling her around 17 months old at Ipswich, she was running very ordinary times,” she said.
“We took her to the vet to get checked out and he said when did she come on season, she’s making milk, we didn’t even know she was going through her first season.
“She sat on the sidelines for a few weeks and got back to trialling and was back to where we thought she should be.”
Williams doesn’t come from a greyhound background, but once she found the sport twenty years ago she was hooked.
Since then, she has done everything from whelping to traveling with champion chaser Dashing Corsair, and was now looking to give back some of her knowledge.
“I was introduced to greyhounds through my ex-husband not knowing a thing about dogs or how to train them,” Williams said.
That was about twenty years ago, and the whole way I’ve just kept picking up little pieces of knowledge to where I think I’m pretty well informed now.
“We had a great ride with Dashing Corsair, so I got to travel around the country seeing him race and watching what all the best trainers were doing and also had the first-hand experience at home of breeding, rearing, whelping the whole lot.
“It’s a lot of work - you need to have a partner to do it with and I was so lucky to have that with Kerry.
“We’ve been great friends for a long time and I know her and Ian have a fantastic setup.”
Williams’ extensive involvement in all things greyhounds led her to put pen to paper, producing a guide for trainers, owners, breeders young and old on how to get the best out of the process.
“With all my knowledge and first-hand experiences, I actually sat down and wrote a book which is currently being proofed by editor of The Chase Magazine Pat McLeod,” Williams said.
“My Greyhound Handbook on Whelping and Care of Brood Bitch and Pups is the title.
“I had my own business at Toogoolawah for five years and all I did was whelping and keeping the pups up until twelve weeks, so I knew what I was doing.
“After a bit of research I saw there wasn’t really any other book in Australia out there like it, which made me push even harder to get it out there.
“All up, I whelped over 100 litters and upwards of 500 pups, I learnt things you only could first-hand and the book gives a step-by-step guide on the entire process.
“I was lucky enough that Tony Brett, who I’ve whelped for, wrote an excerpt on his litters that I’ve whelped.”
Similarly to Canya Kick’s success, writing the book was soothing for Williams who carries her daughter’s spirit with her in whatever she does.
“It was a great sense of accomplishment when I finally finished because I took a lot out of me emotionally to get started,” Williams said.
“My daughter and I had always planned to do it together, she was a marketing manager and was going to take care of all the things I didn’t have a clue about.
“I procrastinated for a few months and really didn’t have the energy to do it, but one day bit the bullet and just put everything into it, I know Natalie was helping me all the way.”