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Last Updated: Friday, 12 May 2006, 15:16 GMT 16:16 UK
Army dog bounces back from abuse
Keira the dog
Keria and Yvonne Watson have been a team for two years
A four-legged Army recruit who was rescued from a life of abuse has been playing her part in the fight against illegal weapons in Iraq.

Keria, along with handler Lance Corporal Yvonne Watson from Dundee, have also been working to reduce tensions in the country.

The four-year-old springer spaniel, a victim of mistreatment by children, became an explosives sniffer dog.

Both dog and handler are on their second tour of operational duty.

They previously served in Afghanistan before coming to Iraq.

Lance Corporal Watson, 30, has worked with Keria for two years after training at the Defence Animal Centre in Melton Mowbray.

'Improving lives'

They have bonded so well that she has asked to keep Keira after the dog retires in four years.

"I really think that we are making a difference out here to the local people," said the Royal Army Veterinary Corps dog handler from Monikie, who joined up three years ago from her previous job in dairy farming following a downturn in the industry.

"They are trying to get their lives together and I would like to think that we are helping."

Keria, who is still apprehensive in the presence of young people, is called out whenever there is a suspicion of hidden arms or explosives.

Although required to work in difficult, high temperatures, the dogs are housed in air conditioned kennels and even have their own swimming pool.

They will move to Cyprus at the end of their tour of duty in Iraq.

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