A black Labrador has been awarded the
animal equivalent of a Victoria Cross
for his work sniffing out roadside
bombs in Afghanistan.

Nine-year-old Treo has been given the
Dickin Medal after a saving the lives of
British soldiers by detecting improvised
explosive devices in Helmand province.

His handler Sergeant Dave Heyhoe said the
dog proved a particularly effective
counter-insurgency weapon.

"I'm very proud indeed, not only for myself
and Treo, but it's for every dog and handler
that's working out in Afghanistan
or Iraq," he said.

Treo, who served in Afghanistan in 2008 and
is now retired, started his career at the
Defence Animal Centre, based in
Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire,
when he was a year old.

Treo did 12 weeks training before he went to
Northern Ireland, where he worked for three
years with his first handler before
Sgt Heyhoe took over.

Sgt Heyhoe explained: "Basically, me and the
dog have got to get a rapport. We've got to
understand each other, without that we
can't be effective on the ground. He must
know when I want him to go somewhere
to search, that's where he goes."

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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