Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Life-saving Labrador awarded medal

Army dog handler Sergeant David Heyhoe with Treo

To the untrained eye, black Labrador Treo looks like any other happy, healthy dog.

But the nine-year-old has seen more of a warzone than most people will in a lifetime and is now the proud recipient of the animal equivalent of a Victoria Cross for his life-saving skills sniffing out roadside bombs in Afghanistan.

The Dickin Medal, the highest accolade a military animal can expect, will be presented to Treo and his handler Sergeant Dave Heyhoe in a special ceremony organised by the PDSA at the Imperial War Museum.

Treo, who saw frontline action patrolling with soldiers in Afghanistan in 2008, is now retired, enjoying life at home.

He and Sgt Heyhoe have returned to their former base 104 Military Working Dogs Support Unit, in North Luffenham, Rutland.

Sgt Heyhoe said: "Treo and I have been working together for the last five years.

"We started our time together in Northern Ireland, then moved to North Luffenham, where we then went out to Afghanistan in 2008."

While there, Treo saved lives as he patrolled with Sgt Heyhoe in Sangin, Helmand Province.

At that time the army had 25 dogs deployed in Afghanistan supporting troops in various roles, including as protection dogs and as detection dogs, working both in vehicle searches and as arms and explosives search dogs - like Treo.

Treo is the 63rd animal to receive the Dickin Medal - introduced by PDSA founder Maria Dickin in 1943 to honour the work of animals in war - and the 27th dog to receive the honour.

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