Dr Robert 'Rob' Irving
Since 1996, veterinarian surgeon Dr Bob Irving has spent half of each year travelling to Aboriginal remote communities in the Anangu-Yankunyjatjara-Pitjantjatjara (AYP) lands in South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory to treat sick animals, mostly dogs.
Funded by government Dog Health Program, Bob travels by road to many remote areas in dangerous terrain. In early days, he often had to camp out with his swag and cook over an open fire. Originally beginning in South Australia, he soon realised that dogs were travelling from interstate for sporting events, funerals and ceremonial activities, so he extended the program to communities in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
His valuable service helps reduces the risk of transmission of the skin infections, diarrheal diseases and chronic gut parasitic infections from dogs to humans. It also controls the population size of dogs, ensures dogs don’t suffer the painful consequences of mange, and humanely removes sick or troublesome dogs from the population.