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Ambassadors

We are incredibly grateful to the following ambassadors for their time and support, helping us raise awareness for Paws4Kids.

Paws4Kids is our annual fundraising appeal that supports our therapy dog education program. The program supports vulnerable children who are currently disengaged or at risk of disengaging from education to improve their confidence, self-regulation and behavioural management skills. We truly value the significant contribution our Ambassadors make in helping us achieve our vision of every child living in a safe and supportive environment.

For a media interview with one of our Ambassadors, please contact angela.mallon@mackillop.org.au.


Lara Shannon

Lara is a Paws4Kids ambassador.

Education provides children with hope and opportunity. This program is providing those that need it most the chance to re-engage with school and complete their education, which is something many people take for granted. Donating to this initiative helps those that may feel the world has forgotten about them know that people do care.

– Lara Shannon
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After completing a Certificate in Dog Behaviour & Training with the National Dog Trainers’ Federation, Lara created and is now the Executive Producer and Co-Host of Pooches at Play that airs nationally on the 10 Network.

A passionate animal welfare advocate for over 20 years, Lara is an Ambassador for Second Chance Animal Rescue and has been a regular on Australian and TV stations for the past two decades as a media spokesperson for organisations including the World Wide Fund for Nature, Planet Ark, Keep Australia Beautiful, The Orangutan Project and others.

In between her Pooches at Play commitments, Lara runs her own one-on-one local dog training and minding business in Melbourne’s Bayside suburbs, is a regular on Channel 10’s Studio 10 and a keynote speaker on dog training and behaviour topics at pet expos and events across Australia. Never far from her side is her cheeky sidekick Dynamite Darcy.

Lara’s debut book ‘EAT, PLAY, LOVE your dog’ will be released by Hardie Grant Publishing in bookstores and PETstock retail outlets across Australia on 1 June 2020.

Follow Lara and Darcy’s adventures on Instagram and Facebook:


Sam Docherty

Sam is a Paws4Kids ambassador.

One of the joys of playing in the AFL is the ability to use my influence to help people. I’m proud to be an Ambassador for MacKillop Family Services’ Paws4Kids so that I can make a positive difference for vulnerable children.

For me education is so important. School is where I made a lot of my life long friends and early social connections. I wouldn’t be where I am today without school. Everyone deserves the right to an education, and it has been great to see the impact MacKillop’s therapy dogs can have on helping vulnerable children get back to the classroom. Donating to Paws4Kids will allow more vulnerable children to get a better start and opportunity at an amazing life.

– Sam Docherty
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Sam Docherty is the co-captain for the AFL’s Carlton Football Club. He grew up on Victoria’s Phillip Island and was drafted in 2011 to the Brisbane Lions, then later moved to Carlton in 2013. Sam won Carlton’s Best and Fairest award in 2016, was chosen for the All Australian team in 2017 and was vice president of the AFL Players Association in 2017 - 18. He is now studying a Bachelor of Business and has recently been married.


Jordan Ablett

Jordan is a Paws4Kids ambassador.

I believe that therapy dogs are a fantastic way of breaking down barriers and enabling students to feel safe in their environment as they learn and develop their social and emotional skills.

Should people decide to want to donate to Paws4Kids, they will be making a life-changing decision. Vulnerable children will be positively impacted by their generosity and it will make a wonderful difference in the lives of those affected.

– Jordan Ablett
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Jordan Ablett met her perfect match when she married elite AFL footballer Gary. They share a passion for health and fitness and Jordan has become wise to the discipline and demands that come with the work and life around sport and club culture.

Jordan has become expert in creating a lifestyle that is balanced and fine tuned for wellness. Jordan’s work life has also see her take on enriching and supportive roles. She has provided care, guidance and training for troubled youth and Children with Autism. Working in community and education systems Jordan has gained an understanding of the challenges parents face when children have learning difficulties, integration barriers and social stresses.


Christie Whelan Browne

Christie is a Paws4Kids ambassador.

Let’s all agree on something ok? There is nothing sweeter than a service dog. Who makes peoples lives better by just being in them. Being amazing friends and teachers, calming forces, epitome of LOVE and connection

Paws4Kids is an amazing charity which uses therapy dogs to help children who are in Foster Care and who are unable to attend school for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they can’t leave the house due to anxiety, or they have issues with violence with other children, or they have learning difficulties.

This amazing charity is looking out for those kids who are really struggling and need some help and love in their lives. Their aim is to raise $300,000 so that more children can have access to therapy dogs to help them reengage with education and follow their dreams. If you would like to help, whatever you generously donate on April 22 will be tripled by their generous partners. So? It’s the perfect time to help.

– Christie Whelan Browne
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Christie is a Paws4Kids ambassador.

Christie Whelan Browne is one of Australia’s most versatile stage and screen performers. An award-winning actress who has delighted audiences in shows as varied as A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum, The Importance Of Being Earnest, The Drowsy Chaperone(Helpmann Award Nomination) and Britney Spears: The Cabaret. Christie has been described by The Australian as “immaculate and untouchable”; by The Age as “magnificent”; and by the Herald Sun as “a musical and cabaret talent not to be missed”.

Christie is the star of three one woman shows; Britney Spears: The Cabaret, Show People and Vigil (Green Room Award Winner) all of which have debuted at The Adelaide Cabaret Festival and then toured in Australia and Internationally, to much acclaim.

Christie has been seen in MTC’s Twelfth Night, An Ideal Husband, Born Yesterday and The Odd Couple. In 2016 she played the role of Gen in Eddie Perfect’s play The Beast. Her career began in 2005 in Grease - The Arena Spectacular. Other musical roles include Kira in Xanadu, Liz Hurley in Shane Warne The Musical, Lina Lamont in Singin’ In The Rain, Tanya Degano in STC’s Muriel’s Wedding The Musical (Helpmann Award nomination & Sydney Theatre Award nomination) and April in Company (Sydney Theatre Award) to name just a few.

On the silver screen, Christie has been seen in Wonderland, Offspring, Peter Allen – Not The Boy Next Door, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Paper Giants: Magazine Wars, House Husbands, True Story with Hamish and Andy, Mustangs FC, Get Krackin and The Wrong Girl. Recent film credits include M4M, I Love You Too, Spin Out and That’s Not My Dog.

She appeared in 2019 as Scarlett Brady in Neighbours and is a regular on Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell.