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March 1, 2012
ROCCO'S bark was worse than his bite until
a Navy dentist stepped in to ease the military
working dog's painful toothaches.
The Belgian shepherd needed root canal
surgery after he chipped and fractured his
teeth by chewing his metal water bowl.
LCDR Daniel Allan, of Darwin Health
Centre, jumped at the opportunity to sink his
teeth into the challenge of getting Rocco "fit
to bite and fit to fight" once again.
Rocco required root canal surgery to repair
cracked and chipped fangs.
But with no qualified animal dentists
available, Rocco and his Air Force handler
faced a costly interstate trip when LCDR
Allan responded to an SOS to fix the dog's
"The opportunity arose when I was
approached by the RAAF working dog sec-
tion to assess one of their dogs with a dental
problem," he said.
"After a thorough evaluation, we recog-
nised that the injury needed attention and
worked through a solution with the Parap
Following the fang fix on February 14,
Rocco recently resumed his role with 13SQN
Security Police Flight, which protects assets
and operations around the clock at RAAF
Rocco's handler, LACW Tegan Bowden,
said LCDR Allan did a fantastic job repairing
Rocco's chipped and fractured teeth that were
the result of him chewing his metal water
"Rocco and I have been partnered for
almost three years now and normally I'd be
worried about such surgery but I had com-
plete faith in the RAN dentist," she said.
LCDR Allan said it was not unusual for
ADF dentists to carry out urgent specialised
procedures on animals.
"Rocco provided an opportunity to work
beyond the scope of normal practice while
still contributing to the dental health of our
ADF members," he said.
LACW Bowden said Rocco is again fight-
"He has launched right back into attack
work and biting, and now that his teeth have
been cleared and are in good form, there are
very little limitations to our training now," she
said. "He is quite accident prone and a little
bit erratic but always recovers fast so hope-
fully he will continue to mature, learn and
protect for many years to come."
fills the gap
FIT TO BITE: LCDR
Daniel Allan fixes
fangs. Inset, Rocco
feels fighting fit again
with LACW Tegan
Bowden, of 13SQN, at
RAAF Base Darwin.
Photos: ABIS James Whittle
Hydrographers gather for
Pacific nations workshop
THE Australian Hydrographic Service
hosted 14 representatives from 10 south-
west Pacific nations for a technical
workshop and meeting on shallow water
bathymetry from February 13-16.
The event reviewed international
nautical chart schemes and electronic
navigational chart coverage, developed
further capacity building initiatives in
island states and raised the awareness
of the importance of hydrography in the
The Hydrographer of Australia,
CDRE Rod Nairn, said the workshop
placed special emphasis on liaising with
other regional maritime organisations
and techniques for collecting and analys-
ing information to improve the quality of
nautical charts in ports and coastal areas.
"The technical workshop was a train-
ing opportunity for our counterparts
in the southwest Pacific and part of
Australia's commitment to taking a lead-
ership role in the region for higher accu-
racy hydrographic surveying," CDRE
He said the southwest Pacific's island
nations were all reliant on shipping for
imports and exports.
"In Australia, for example, 99 per
cent of our trade by volume is trans-
ported by sea," he said.
"Trends in shipping across the south-
west Pacific include increased tourist
demand for ocean travel to places 'off
the beaten track' and, secondly, deeper
draught ships whether for tourism or
trade. These bigger ships sit lower in the
water which means they are more at risk
of grounding unless there are accurate
and up-to-date surveys of shallow waters
The International Hydrographic
Office supported the workshop as part of
its capacity building efforts. The office
provides support to developing hydro-
graphic services as well as annual fund-
ing for training and capacity building
activities in the southwest Pacific region.
CHARTING THE SEAS: SMNHSO Glen Cooksey mans the sonar on board
HMAS Paluma during the minor war vessel concentration period.
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