Black Lab Receives Top British Military Honor

The life-saving skills of a black Labrador have earned him a top medal in the British Army, Sky News reported Wednesday.

Nine-year-old Treo's job is to sniff out roadside bombs in Afghanistan for soldiers, and he has proved rather good at it.

In August, 2008, while working as a forward detection dog in Sangin, Treo found a "daisy chain" improvised explosive device (IED) - made of two or more explosives wired together - that had been carefully modified and concealed by the Taliban at the side of a path.

A month later, his actions saved another platoon from guaranteed casualties, again by finding a daisy chain IED.

Now he is being rewarded with the Dickin Medal - the animal equivalent of a Victoria Cross - the highest accolade for a military animal.

Treo retired and is now enjoying life with handler Sergeant Dave Heyhoe back at 104 Military Working Dogs Support Unit, in North Luffenham, Rutland.

Sgt Heyhoe said, "Treo's work involves searching for arms and explosives out on the ground to the forefront of the troops.

"It's very important. We are part and parcel of the search element. We're not the ultimate answer but we are an aid to search. Another aid would be the metal detector - but Treo is a four-legged variety."

Sgt Heyhoe says their relationship is now far more than a working partnership.

"Basically, me and the dog have got to understand each other and without that we can't be effective on the ground. He must know when I want him to go somewhere to search.

"Everyone will say that he is just a military working dog - yes, he is, but he is also a very good friend of mine. We look after each other."

Treo is the 63rd animal to receive the Dickin Medal - introduced in 1943 to honor the work of animals in war - and the 27th dog to receive the honor.

Since its introduction it has also been presented to 32 World War II messenger pigeons, three horses and one cat.