News Article

Military search dog to receive animals' Victoria Cross

A History and Honour news article

8 Feb 10

Treo, an eight-year-old black Labrador, is to be honoured for his heroic actions as an arms and explosives search dog in Afghanistan by veterinary charity PDSA.

Sergeant Dave Heyhoe with Treo

Sergeant Dave Heyhoe with explosives search dog Treo in Afghanistan
[Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2008]

The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) Dickin Medal will be presented to Treo for his gallant exploits in Afghanistan in 2008.

The medal is the highest award any animal can receive in recognition of conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty while serving in military conflict.

Treo's medal will be theĀ first PDSA Dickin Medal to be presented since 2007.

According to the Army, Treo's actions saved other soldiers and innocent civilians from death and serious injury.

Military working dog Treo was deployed to Helmand province, Afghanistan, in March 2008. His job was to search for weapons and munitions concealed by the Taliban.

On 15 August 2008, while working as a forward detection dog in Sangin, he located an improvised explosive device (IED). The 'daisy chain' IED (two or more explosives wired together) had been carefully modified and concealed by the Taliban at the side of a path in order to maximise casualties among the numerous soldiers about to pass.

A month later, in September 2008, Treo's actions saved another platoon from guaranteed casualties. This was also due to Treo locating a 'daisy chain' IED.

Sergeant Dave Heyhoe with Treo

Sergeant Dave Heyhoe with military working dog Treo
[Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2008]


He will be presented with his award on Wednesday 24 February 2010 by PDSA patron, Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, at a special ceremony to be held at the Imperial War Museum in London.

Treo will be accompanied at the ceremony by his handler, Sergeant Dave Heyhoe. They have worked together for five years.

PDSA Director General, Jan McLoughlin, said:

"We look forward to honouring Treo with the PDSA Dickin Medal. The medal is recognised throughout the world as the animals' Victoria Cross and is the highest award any animal can receive for bravery in the line of duty. Treo is, without doubt, a worthy recipient."

Treo will bring the total number of PDSA Dickin Medals presented to animals in war to 63. Since the introduction of the award by PDSA's founder Maria Dickin in 1943 it has been awarded to 27 dogs, 32 World War Two messenger pigeons, three horses and one cat.




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