The team at HMAS Coonawarra took some time to provide community service and engagement at the local Darwin animal shelter.

Chief Petty Officer Stuart Rowe led the team at PAWS Darwin and said they undertook a variety of maintenance and support activities. 

“Our working party was repairing cages, organising the facility fencing and enclosures as well as conducting a few renovations around the grounds,” Chief Petty Officer Rowe said.

“For many of our members this is pretty special as the Navy lifestyle, often at sea or living on base, doesn’t always lend itself to pet ownership. 

“Military members from all services can make a massive difference here as volunteers, playing with, enriching, and training our four legged friends, preparing them for rehoming. 

“Navy sailors and officers ashore can temporarily foster animals for fixed periods over their leave, ships maintenance windows, or reduced service period.”

Founding member and CEO of PAWS Darwin Lisa Hansen said she was thrilled for the support. 

“PAWS Darwin takes a holistic view to rehoming animals, focusing on the people as well, providing free certifications to our volunteers,” Ms Hansen said.

“We know that simply finding a home isn’t enough; education, training and support are all part of what is needed for an animal adoption to be successful.

“We rehome over 700 animals a year, largely through the support of our volunteer helpers and animal foster carers. A surge in animal ownership last year has created lots of opportunities for volunteers to help train our animals to help them find a home.”

Seaman Riley Fletcher was part of the engagement and said it was heart-warming. 

“We can’t have them in our accommodation on base and I miss the pets I have at my family home in Queensland,” Seaman Fletcher said.

“I found out about the volunteering opportunities here through my work unit. It is a great to be able to contribute to this place in and around my work schedule.”

To volunteer, visit https://pawsdarwin.org.au/