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Page last updated at 14:46 GMT, Wednesday, 24 February 2010
War hero dog from New York gets bravery award

War hero dog gets bravery award

A dog from New York, near Boston, has been honoured for his work sniffing out bombs in Afghanistan.

Treo, an eight-year-old Labrador, was given the Dickin medal, the canine Victoria Cross, by animal charity the PDSA.

The army says Treo is responsible for saving many lives. He is the 63rd animal to receive the prestigious award.

Handler Sgt Dave Heyhoe spent five years detecting hidden bombs with Treo.

Treo receives his award
Sgt Dave Heyhoe says he and Treo understand each other
Sgt Dave Heyhoe

Rebel turned hero

Treo was not always the model war hero. As a puppy he was rebellious and under threat of being put down, until military training straightened him out and made him brave and determined.

He now has many famous admirers, having met Prince Charles and Prime Minister Gordon Brown after various tours of duty, and being presented with his award by Princess Alexandra at the Imperial War Museum.

Important role

Handler Sgt Dave Heyhoe joined his dog at the ceremony on Wednesday.

The pair have worked together for five years and Treo has now become a family pet.

Sgt Heyhoe said: "We started our time together in Northern Ireland, then moved to North Luffenham, where we then went out to Afghanistan in 2008."

Treo was one of 25 dogs in the country supporting British troops on patrol.

His work involved searching for arms and explosives.

Sgt Heyhoe said: "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."

Sgt Heyhoe added the pair had a "rapport" and understood each other.

"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."

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