A FIBREGLASS dog will sail to Antarctica this week aboard Aussie research vessel Nuyina.

The new collection dog replaces a research station mascot, named Stay, who recently vanished under “mysterious circumstances”, according to the Australian Antarctic Division.

Stay, who belonged to Guide Dogs Tasmania, became part of Antarctic folklore in 1991 when expeditioners stole the dog and smuggled her south on the icebreaker Aurora Australis.

It quickly became a challenge for expeditioners from other stations to dognap Stay and then boast of the heist by radio or, more recently, by sending photos of her in her new home.

Stay visited every Australian Antarctic station, including sub-Antarctic Heard, McDonald and Macquarie Islands and even travelled internationally.

AAD chef and watercraft operator Noel Tennant said no station had owned Stay for long before she disappeared and turned up somewhere else.

 “I’ve seen her slung under a helicopter in a cage pallet, I’ve seen her stashed in the back of a helicopter between Davis and Mawson on a so-called day trip,” Mr Tennant said.

“She fits into an Australia Post bag and that’s one of the ways she’s been sent from one place to another.

“She lost a leg during the shenanigans and one of our carpenters crafted a beautiful prosthetic wooden leg for her. She’s had a lot of adventures.”

Stay even managed to secure a place on Nuyina’s maiden voyage in 2021 after “magically” appearing in the Netherlands.

A few years later, while on Macquarie Island, Stay disappeared and despite multiple searches, hasn’t been seen since. AAD said it was a loss for the expeditioner community and for the guide dog charity itself, which has received nearly $3000 in donations over the years from expeditioners in penance for stealing her in the first place.

Mr Tennant asked Guide Dogs Tasmania if they were open to providing a replacement.

“While we don’t condone the unauthorised relocation of our beloved collection dogs, Stay has undeniably brought joy, excitement and positivity to expeditioners, all while raising valuable funds for Guide Dogs Tasmania, for which we are immensely grateful,” Guide Dogs Tasmania chief executive Anna Presser said.

“We’re delighted to continue Stay’s legacy by providing a successor and eagerly anticipate following her adventures.”

Voyage leader Brendan Hopkins will share his cabin with the new Stay for the three-day trip.

“There was always a bit of skulduggery and subterfuge, getting her from ship to shore and station to station,” he said.

“If you’d successfully captured Stay that would really boost station morale because we’d have her and the others didn’t.”

AAD warned the incoming Macquarie Island team that Stay may be theirs to start with, but they’d have to work hard to keep her.