Volunteering a win-win as Top End team pitches in to help the paw

This article has photo gallery Published on AB Toni McMahon (author), POIS Peter Thompson (photographer)

Location(s): Winnellie, Darwin, NT

Topic(s): HMAS Coonawarra, Charities, Fundraising & Community

Sailors and soldiers from Transit Security Element 91 and sailors from HMAS Coonawarra with staff and furry friends at PAWS Darwin animal shelter in Winnellie, NT. (photo: POIS Peter Thompson)
Sailors and soldiers from Transit Security Element 91 and sailors from HMAS Coonawarra with staff and furry friends at PAWS Darwin animal shelter in Winnellie, NT.

Defence members in the Top End have taken time to give back to the local community during a series of working bees and volunteer activities at the PAWS Darwin Animal Shelter.

Navy and Army members rolled up their sleeves to assist some of Darwin’s furry friends as well as the staff at PAWS who are dedicated to caring for stray and unwanted animals with the ultimate goal of re-homing them to loving families.

Chief Petty Officer Physical Training Instructor Stuart Rowe launched the initiative with the help of Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Sarah Fryer who was an existing volunteer at PAWS.

PAWS Shelter Manager Rachael Thomson said the work has been invaluable.

“They’ve been brilliant,” she said.

“The outside run area for the dogs was quite small but the team built us some makeshift fences and the outside run area is now much larger and the dogs can get a good run around.

“It’s still a work in progress but the help from ADF members has made it a lot better than it was,” she said.

With the help of Able Seaman Fryer and her association with PAWS Darwin, personnel from HMAS Coonawarra have been inducted into the organisation and can now come and go as often as they like or need and assist when possible. 

The volunteer work has also provided sailors and soldiers with a positive mental health break and physical activity in the company of an enthusiastic canine.

Chief Petty Officer Rowe said the group demonstrated a strong sense of teamwork.

“I believe the ongoing relationship with PAWS Darwin will help those individuals who get on board to become more aware of their own state of well-being and sense of purpose.”

PAWS was established in 2003 and has already re-homed more than 40 animals in 2019. For more information or to volunteer please visit: http://pawsdarwin.org.au