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Equipment Operator Seabee Raymie Huddleston, left, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Kreamalmyer carry wooden stakes and step carefully around — and over — dogs while helping build a kennel for a local pet shelter on Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, on Wednesday.

Equipment Operator Seabee Raymie Huddleston, left, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Kreamalmyer carry wooden stakes and step carefully around — and over — dogs while helping build a kennel for a local pet shelter on Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, on Wednesday. (Christopher B. Stoltz / S&S)

Equipment Operator Seabee Raymie Huddleston, left, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Kreamalmyer carry wooden stakes and step carefully around — and over — dogs while helping build a kennel for a local pet shelter on Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, on Wednesday.

Equipment Operator Seabee Raymie Huddleston, left, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Kreamalmyer carry wooden stakes and step carefully around — and over — dogs while helping build a kennel for a local pet shelter on Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, on Wednesday. (Christopher B. Stoltz / S&S)

Seabee Raymie Huddleston helps build a kennel.

Seabee Raymie Huddleston helps build a kennel. (Christopher B. Stoltz / S&S)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Wet noses. Wagging tails. Canine recovery missions when an opportunistic dog goes for broke through an open gate. The Seabees are on dog detail this week at Yokosuka Naval Base.

“They’re pretty fun to work with,” said Seaman Recruit Raymie Huddleston, referring to Bailey and Brownie, two dogs vying for her affection.

“But I wouldn’t say they’re necessarily helping … unless you consider that they’re fertilizing the grass.”

She and several other Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4 are working at Pets Are Worth Saving (PAWS) this week, building dog runs, putting up cabinets, moving around cages and tiling floors.

The work comes at a good time as the shelter is currently maxed out for space, said Dawn Zeumalt, PAWS president.

“We’re really full up right now,” Zeumalt said. “This is wonderful of them.”

The improvements mean that the cat cages will no longer be stacked on the dog cages — easing the stress in the introduction room, where the Seabees are also retiling the floor. Outside, dogs will get three new 12-foot-by-12-foot dog runs where they can play outside without being chained up.

The funding comes from the Seabees and Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka Self Help.

“As a volunteer organization, we really depend on the community for support,” Zeumalt said. “To see how so many people care for the animals and want to do right by them is really great.”

The primary project for the 13 Port Hueneme, Calif., Seabees deployed to Yokosuka is to put up a prefabricated building near the Yokosuka Weather Station. But the group plans to do a number of side jobs while they’re here, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Haans Endecott.

“This is just a little project to help out the community and let them know that we care,” Endecott said. And while the Seabees don’t usually work for four-legged types, the group prides itself on being flexible.

“Our motto is ‘Can Do,’ so we do anything and go anywhere,” Endecott said. “The dogs do expect us to pet them, but we’ve had a lot worse distractions on the job.”

There is a PAWS volunteer training scheduled for Jan. 21. Those interested can call 243-9996 for more information.


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