They have been away from home and loved ones for months but a trip to the RSPCA Adoption Centre has helped filled the hearts of some of the most hardened United States Marines.
About 15 US Marines with Company L, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Divisionyesterday volunteered, socialising, walking and training dogs and cleaning out enclosures.
First Lieutenant Ghazi Albanna said he had grown up with dogs and loved interacting with them.
“We’ve been hanging out with them and giving then treats,” he said. “We’ve been told it’s very important for them to be social with different faces because they are usually in their cage for up to 23 hours a day.”
Corporal Nicholas Evans said playing with shelter animals was a great excuse to leave their host base Lavarack Barracks and give back to the community.
“I have dogs at home I’m missing very much and I want to bring all these dogs back with me,” he said. “I hope they all find new homes.”
Officer Commanding 3/4 Infantry Battalion’s Company L Captain Tom Schueman said while his Marines were in Australia to train for war, the group wanted to be good guests.
He said shelter animals also held a special place in his heart.
“I’ve got two dogs back home, one of whom is a rescue herself, so this is pretty cool to come here and see some of these dogs and give some attention to a great place like the shelter,” he said.
“We’re considering adopting one and naming him Lucky (Lima Company’s call sign).
“Our mission first and foremost is to be ready to fight, partnered with our allies, but an additional part of our mission is to give back to the community.”
RSPCA animal attendant Zoe Biggs said the shelter was always short of volunteers so the Marines were a welcome morale boost for staff and the animals.
“There is only one animal attendant per section and we can responsible for up to 30 dogs at a time so we are always looking for more walkers to help us out,” she said.
“Everyone wants to a adopt the dog that can sit, wait and be patient so we do want them socialising and practising their training.”