April 4, 2022

From Howdy to Aloha

Growing up, McIntosh lived with her grandparents on their ranch outside San Angelo, Texas, and has fond memories of their dogs, whose main role was doing ranch work. “I can’t remember if their dogs were even allowed to sleep in the house,” she said. “It’s been interesting over my life to see the paradigm shift between the way they viewed dogs and the way we now view dogs as family members.”

After briefly attending college in Missouri, McIntosh married her high school sweetheart, Bernard McIntosh ’57. While Bernard finished his education at Texas A&M, McIntosh worked in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Veterinary Anatomy. Her primary role was typing a doctoral student’s handwritten research notes about turkeys’ brains. “That was the beginning of my love for Aggie veterinarians,” she said.

After graduation, Bernard joined the military. He served for more than two decades, including as a military pilot during the Vietnam War. As a military spouse, McIntosh joined her husband on different postings and took care of their four children, including Sarah McIntosh '86 and John McIntosh '87.

The couple divorced at the end of Bernard’s last tour of duty in Hawaii. McIntosh remained in the Aloha State and enrolled in the University of Hawaii, where she completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology.

Dogged Companions

Living in a Hawaiian high-rise apartment complex limited McIntosh’s ability to have pets. “They wouldn’t allow residents to have anything bigger than a dog that you could hold in your arms in the elevator,” she said, adding that she adopted cats at the time.

Several years later, McIntosh returned to the Lone Star State and earned a master’s degree in social work from The University of Texas. She continued to have cats as pets until that fateful day at the Austin-area PetSmart. “I fell in love, and I said, ‘That’s the most beautiful dog I’ve ever seen!’” she remembered thinking after seeing Koa, who had never raced due to focal seizures. “He was the perfect dog. He was sweet, well-behaved and slept in the crate. Because he was my first, he started my addiction with greyhounds.”

I never met a sighthound that I didn’t like. They aren’t aggressive, unless you’re a rabbit—or maybe a cat!
Sally McIntosh


In the years since, McIntosh has become a big fan of sighthounds: hounds that hunt primarily by sight and speed. She’s owned a Borzoi, an Afghan, a saluki mix, a pharaoh hound, a Spanish galgo and a podenco as well as other greyhounds. “I never met a sighthound that I didn’t like,” she said. “I like their looks and their temperament. They aren’t aggressive, unless you’re a rabbit—or maybe a cat!”

A Loyal Servant

As her enthusiasm for sighthounds picked up speed, McIntosh became actively involved in Greyhound Pets of America-Central Texas. “It took over my life,” she said. “I spent many years working with adoption groups, running all over the state picking up dogs, taking them to vets, adopting, finding homes for them and doing home visits.”

She’s also witnessed service dogs calm military veterans and emergency medical services (EMS) staff. “I have a special spot in my heart for veterans,” McIntosh said, noting that in addition to her ex-husband, her son served in the U.S. Army and the City of Austin EMS. “You become aware of the mental health challenges these groups often face, which are huge. While dogs can’t cure mental issues, I’m a big believer that they can make life better for people.”

Making this connection, McIntosh created a gift that helps military personnel and emergency responders afford cutting-edge treatment for their beloved pets at the CVMBS’s Small Animal Hospital. For example, her endowment defrayed the cost for Rip, a white French bulldog experiencing heart issues, to have a balloon procedure called valvuloplasty. A gift she planned in her estate will further support these efforts after her life.

“It is a gift to have these funds available in support of pets and their owners,” said Dr. Ashley Saunders, CVMBS professor of cardiology and assistant department head. “Funds like this allow pet owners access to life-saving medical therapy and advanced procedures. We are all grateful for the support shown by Ms. McIntosh and other friends of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.”

Ultimately, McIntosh wants to support worthy causes such as the Koa Fund that are aligned with her values and experiences. “Having been an Army wife for more than 20 years, I know that many have stereotypes about the military that aren’t always true,” she said. “While I’m not in favor of war, I do feel it’s important to support the people that we send into battle. It sounds really hokey, but it just feels good to be able to give.”

Interested in planning a gift to help Aggie veterinarians improve the future of animal welfare? Contact Angela Throne ’03 at the bottom of this page to learn which planned giving method best fits your individual needs.