Former Australian Olympic swimming sensation, Leisel Jones has been a dog lover since she was a child.  So it was a natural step when the time was right for Leisel to look for a canine companion. Almost two years ago, she adopted a six-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Neville.

Liesel Jones and her rescue dog, Neville is a perfect match. They make a great team, although Neville has a way to go to perfect his swimming skills!

Pets4Life: What dog breeds did you grow up with?

Leisel: I grew up with a lot of different breeds. One of my first dogs was a Blue Heeler called ‘Jedda’. She was beautiful. She was very protective of me and was a great guard dog. I have also had two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels called Chloe and Chelsea. I have also had an Australian Bulldog called Winston.

Pets4Life: There are so many doggies looking for a home, what made you choose Neville?

Leisel: It was very hard not to take all of the dogs home. Rescue dogs are the best! There were many dogs on pet rescue websites and the RSPCA site that I have so desperately wanted but just can’t have two dogs at the moment. I found Neville on a Staffie rescue site and just knew that I would love him. The minute I saw him I just knew that he was going to be a lot of fun.

Pets4Life: Does Neville enjoy swimming as much as you do?

Leisel: I don’t think Neville has had much exposure to the water in his life because when we first took him to the beach, he really had no clue what to do. He tries to bite the waves. I don’t think he is a great swimmer either. He’s a bit rotund to be a good floater but he still loves trying.

Pets4Life: You and Neville make a great team but who’s really the boss? 

Leisel: I like to think I’m the boss but I’m pretty sure Neville runs this house. He has the funniest little personality and everyone loves him so he gets away with a bit. He has attended Naughty Dog School and was outstanding so he is very obedient but can be a bit bossy too. When Neville wants a pat he wants it now!

Pets4Life: What are your tips for families thinking of adopting a dog?

Leisel: Unfortunately there are so many Staffies in animal shelters. They are so loving and caring and make the best pet for a family. They can be a bit stubborn so they do need a bit of training but they are so smart that it makes them easy to train. It makes me really sad that Staffies have a bad reputation because all they want is to love you. If you treat them right they will love you to death (literally lick you to death). It is so rewarding adopting a dog. It’s like they know and appreciate that you chose them. They give back twice as much love! Rescue dogs really are the best. I’m so glad I adopted Neville because he is such a great dog that makes everyone’s eye light up when they see him.

About Leisel Jones the athlete

Leisel’s professional swimming career includes 14 individual world records, 9 Olympic medals – 3 Gold, 5 Silver, and 1 Bronze, 7 World Championships titles, 10 Commonwealth Games Gold medals and 23 National titles.

Her professional swimming career began at the age of 15 where she was the youngest member of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Swimming Team. Winning 2 silver medals in the 100m breaststroke and 4x100m Medley Relay making her one of the youngest Olympic medalists in Australia’s history.

By the age of 18, Leisel was competing in her 2nd Olympic Games in Athens where she brought home a gold in world record time in the 4x100m medley relay, silver in the 200m breaststroke and a bronze medal in the 100m breaststroke.

After facing many adversities and setbacks in her career, Leisel fulfilled her dream of winning individual Olympic gold in Beijing 2008. She came away from her very successful meet with a gold in her pet event the 100m breaststroke, gold in the 4x100m medley relay and silver in the 200m breaststroke.

Leisel completed her illustrious career at her 4th Olympic Games in London 2012. Her final Olympics was not without its unique challenges including media controversy, overcoming bullying and team dissention. However, Leisel finished her career on a high by winning a silver medal in an event which she holds close to her heart, the 4x100m medley relay.

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