She may be a woman of steel in the water but away from the competition limelight Hayley Bateup is a real softy at heart.
The Gold Coast ironwoman has added a little extra fur to her already furry family, adopting another pint-sized pooch from the Animal Welfare League of Queensland (AWLQ).
Hayley is absolutely smitten with her new bundle of joy, Stevie, a gorgeous stray Pomeranian.
“Stevie fits right in and she already sleeps on the bed too. I share my pillow with her and her big fluffy tail, which is very cute,” she said.
“She is so loving, very affectionate and playful. Once she is up on your lap she will shower you with kisses. She is just perfect.”
Stevie is a little sister to Hayley’s beloved three-legged Chihuahua x Chinese Powder Puff, Chi Chi, whom she also adopted from AWLQ four years ago.
Hayley admits until now Chi Chi definitely wore the crown in the Bateup household but says she has all but embraced her new sister.
“Chi Chi is a tiny 2.2kg and is absolutely spoilt, she goes everywhere in my little bag, so we weren’t sure how she would go. But she has been great,” said Hayley.
While at the AWLQ Coombabah shelter Stevie was known as Holly but after laying eyes on her Hayley knew she needed a special name.
“We named her Stevie Nicks after the singer from the rock band Fleetwood Mac because we are big fans but we also just love the name as well,” she said.
Hayley admits a visit to the Coombabah shelter is always an ‘in and out’ affair otherwise there is the risk she will leave with a carload of furry friends.
“I am such a shocker. I am such a sucker for cuties so it takes a lot for me to restrain myself and not take more dogs home,” she said.
The three-time winner of the coveted Coolangatta Gold Ironwoman title is not only considered royalty on the surf life saving circuit but in the AWLQ camp as well.
She is a familiar face among the AWLQ staff and is a big believer in giving animals another chance at life.
“I don’t like the idea of people breeding animals just to make money when there are so many beautiful pets already out there desperate for homes, “she said.
Hayley urges people to drop by an AWLQ shelter when they are looking to add a new bundle of fur to the family.
“If you go to a shelter and don’t find the perfect pet remember the perfect one could be there the next day,” she said.
“Keep going into the shelter and going on the website and you will no doubt fall in love.”
Hayley is widely regarded as the fittest woman in Australia and has a trophy cabinet to prove it, but she says being a mum to her two adopted cuties is by far her proudest achievement.
“If there were ever a fire at my house the girls are the only things I would take, I definitely wouldn’t grab a trophy,” laughed Hayley.
“I just can’t wait to get home and see them, they mean the world to me.”