Page last updated at 17:15 GMT, Saturday, 9 January 2010

Soldiers in Afghanistan want a UK home for dog

Tangye the black labrador in Kajaki
Soldiers fear Tangye could become a target for the Taliban

British soldiers in Afghanistan have begun a campaign to save a dog which has been patrolling alongside them.

Tangye the black Labrador has survived gun battles and explosions but troops fear he could end up being killed.

With the increased risk from improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the men of C Company, 3rd Battalion The Rifles, want to find Tangye a home in the UK.

L/Cpl Brent Meheux, from Exeter, said the dog was a "morale booster", but it was too dangerous for him to continue.

It would mean an awful lot to the lads to know he was safe
L/Cpl Brent Meheux

Tangye was named after a village on Helmand river opposite the forward operating base at Kajaki.

He has been living at the base since a British soldier bought him as a puppy from a dam worker about five years ago.

L/Cpl Meheux, a 44-year-old Territorial Army soldier, said Tangye has done more patrols than most soldiers and he should be retired.

"When the lads are under contact he will run up and down the line barking and wagging his tail," he said.

"It's as if he is shouting encouragement - he loves it.

Tangye with L/Cpl Samuel Hendley
Tangye is described by the soldiers of C company as "fearless under fire"

"But we had to stop him coming out on patrol about a week ago. The IED threat is just too high. It's gone through the roof."

He said the dog was fearless under fire, and would even be the first to jump through if soldiers exploded a hole in a compound wall as they cleared a village of insurgents.

"The Taliban probably know about him and think he is a sniffer dog. I'm sure they would want to make him a target," L/Cpl Meheux said.

"It would mean an awful lot to the lads to know he was safe.

"He has been such a morale-booster for the lads, but he can't do what he loves doing over here any more - it's too dangerous.

"We want someone to help us get him back to a safe home in the UK."

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