New leash on life for Albatross Dog Squad

Published on Ms Dallas McMaugh (author), ABIS Jesse Rhynard (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Albatross, NSW

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

From left, Able Seaman Kathleen Clifford, Able Seaman Terren Bennett, Commanding Officer HMAS Albatross, Captain Simon Bateman, RAN, Petty Officer Olivia Usback, Able Seaman Christine Stone and Chief Petty Officer Linda Eddington with their beloved dogs at HMAS Albatross. These Royal Australian Navy members will be taking part in the Million Paws Walk, a fundraiser run by the RSPCA. (photo: ABIS Jesse Rhynard)
From left, Able Seaman Kathleen Clifford, Able Seaman Terren Bennett, Commanding Officer HMAS Albatross, Captain Simon Bateman, RAN, Petty Officer Olivia Usback, Able Seaman Christine Stone and Chief Petty Officer Linda Eddington with their beloved dogs at HMAS Albatross. These Royal Australian Navy members will be taking part in the Million Paws Walk, a fundraiser run by the RSPCA.

The Albatross Dog Squad recently reformed in preparation for the most important event on the RSPCA calendar, the Million Paws Walk.

Now in its 20th year, the event attracted around 2500 people and more than 800 canines who enjoyed the experience of a three kilometre walk around the beautiful foreshores of Lake Illawarra while raising money for the RSPCA.

The original Albatross Dog Squad was a highly trained team of German Shepherds who guarded the airfield over night. The new Squad’s focus is more on fun and fund raising - and the promise of leftover sausages from the BBQ breakfast. Since three of the Squad are rescued dogs, the RSPCA is also a cause very close to their canine hearts.

Able Seaman Maritime Logistics Personnel Christine Stone with her beloved Golden Retriever, Simba at HMAS Albatross.

Able Seaman Maritime Logistics Personnel Christine Stone with her beloved Golden Retriever, Simba at HMAS Albatross.

The rather excitable Squad got together at Albatross last week for a familiarisation session prior to the big day. Murphy, Simba, Gloria, Tiger Lilly and Indie were put through their paces by their owners Petty Officer Olivia Usback, Able Seaman Christine Stone, Able Seaman Terren Bennett, Chief Petty Officer Linda Eddington and Able Seaman Kathleen Clifford, under the watch of Albatross’ Commanding Officer Captain Simon Bateman.

Captain Bateman, who had obviously forgotten the adage about never working with dogs and children, said that what the Squad lacked in Royal Australian Navy bearing and discipline they made up for in good intentions.

“The Million Paws Walk is a fantastic community event,” Captain Bateman said.

“The RSPCA cares for and protects over 40,000 animals every year in New South Wales, so I’m very proud that Albatross personnel promoted and participated in an event that supports such important work,” he said.

Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20141406.