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Vietnam vet’s Animal Tails

MAC IS BACK: John ‘Mac’ McCallum shares his Vietnam tracker dog story with Empire Vale Public School’s young actors, including Jesse Barnwell, Riley Green, Jade Tanner and David Brown (Anthony Melchior absent).
MAC IS BACK: John ‘Mac’ McCallum shares his Vietnam tracker dog story with Empire Vale Public School’s young actors, including Jesse Barnwell, Riley Green, Jade Tanner and David Brown (Anthony Melchior absent). Karen Rantissi

SOME stories are so special that they simply need to be shared.

The senior class at Empire Vale Public School enjoyed hearing the story of Vietnam veteran John 'Mac' McCallum's war adventures with Caesar the tracker dog so much that they developed and performed a theatre item sharing the duo's amazing life experience.

When Mac came to Empire Vale school to share his experiences with Caesar, the class decided to video him telling his story, to have a visual record for reference and so that they could fully concentrate without needing to take notes.

They then used the tracker dog story to create a performance, which was presented as part of their annual school play called Animal Tails.

The students portrayed many key aspects of the story such as the high stimulus training of a war dog, survival in a tropical jungle war, the dogs earning war medals and the heart-warming trust, loyalty and mateship between Mac and his tracker dog.

Mac helped the students further by providing authentic costumes and props from his personal collection and the Ballina Sub Branch RSL War Museum.

He even showed them how to salute correctly.

Mac came to watch the evening performance, bringing along five guests.

During the performance he both laughed and shed a tear as he watched a younger version of himself on stage, bringing back lots of memories of his time in Vietnam with his dog Caesar.

"It was a great honour and privilege to have the young students depict myself and Caesar in our roles in Vietnam," Mac said.



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