New digs for defence dogs

The working dogs of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) have a new custom-built canine hotel made from shipping containers to relax in after a hard day at the office.

The NZDF has a team of highly skilled working dogs that are deployed with military units internationally as well as providing security at the Whenuapai air base west of Auckland.  

Shipping container specialists Royal Wolf, which are Australasia’s largest supplier of containers, modified two 20-foot containers complete with cages, internal rooms, and air conditioning to suit the needs of the precious pups.

Each dog has a two-roomed kennel, one indoor and one caged area, providing them protection from the elements.

Previously, because of the strong connection between the dog and its handler, they were the only person able to carry out animal welfare tasks. Now, thanks to a clever pulley design that deploys a sliding door, the dog can be held on one side of the kennel so the other side can be accessed safely.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force spokesperson says the customised kennels make caring for the dogs significantly easier and they provide a durable and comfortable haven for the dogs.

“We’ve been impressed by how easy it is to deploy and set-up the container kennel system – it’s quick and easy.

“Importantly, the air conditioning, and the roomy kennels and run give the dogs freedom to move around and keep them protected from the elements.”

Royal Wolf has worked on a number of projects with the NZDF, many of which are classified, however they include a portable container museum for the National Army Museum which travelled to centres around the country.  

Paul Creighton, Royal Wolf Executive General Manager, says the museum and dog kennels show how adaptable and easily transported containers are.

“Our containers are used for everything and anything – from simple and reliable storage solutions, through to modified and bespoke containers used as commercial kitchens, bars and cafes, and even an ice cream factory.

“The possibilities really are endless and it’s great to be able to work with an organisation like the NZDF to create a project that is unique and something that caters to their specific needs.”   

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