Heroic labrador awarded Victoria Cross for animals
Like his colleagues who have been similarly honoured before him, the latest member of the British military to receive a medal may have woken this morning with a sense that today would not be a normal day.
Unlike other service personnel, the hero of the hour then lapped up water from a bowl on the floor and thrust his face into a dish of dog food.
The actions of Treo, a black labrador trained by the army as an arms and explosives search dog, are to be formally recognised when he is awarded “the animals’ Victoria Cross“.
The eight-year-old was deployed to Afghanistan in March 2008, tasked with searching for weapons and munitions concealed by the Taliban.
On 15 August 2008, while working in the town of Sangin, he located a daisy chain IED – two or more explosives wired together to maximise casualties.
A month later, Treo found a second daisy chain, saving a platoon from injury. Recommending him for the award to PDSA [Peoples' Dispensary for Sick Animals], the army said Treo’s actions had saved soldiers and civilians from death and serious injury.
The black labrador, accompanied by his handler of five years, Sergeant Dave Heyhoe, will be presented with the PDSA Dickin medal by Princess Alexandra at the Imperial War Museum in London.
The bronze medallion, bearing the words “For Gallantry” and “We Also Serve” within a laurel wreath, is named after Maria Dickin, founder of the PDSA.