Military Dog Honored with Britain's Highest Award for Animals in WarPublished October 25, 2012
In the wars overseas, human soldiers aren't the only living beings that are in harm's way while carrying out their duties. In some units in the United States military and the armies of other countries, it's not uncommon for a military dog to serve right alongside their human companions. However brave our soldiers are, you can bet that these canine companions are just as brave.
Recently, a British military dog was recognized for this courage. According to a Yahoo report, a bomb-sniffing dog named Theo was posthumously awarded Britain's Dickin Medal, an award given out since 1943 that recognizes the courage of animals in war. Theo, a Springer Spaniel mix, saved many lives sniffing and detecting roadside bombs during the five months he served in Afghanistan.
Theo served with his handler, Royal Army Veterinary Corps Lance Cpl. Liam Tasker. Tasker, a valiant soldier himself, sadly lost his life during a skirmish with Afghan insurgents in March of 2011. On the same day, Theo suffered a seizure which led to his death at a British army base. The seizure is believed to have been due to stress, which most likely was related to the death of Tasker. Both canine and handler were sent to back to Britain on the same flight.
The attachment that forms between a canine and their handler while in the line of military service is incredible. In these types of working situations, both human and canine depend on each other completely, and they really do become best friends. Dogs are affected by war and loss as much as humans are, too. A New York Times report just last year examined the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in dogs, citing estimates that place 5 percent of the close to 650 American military dogs deployed as having behavioral issues akin to PTSD.
What do you think about this story? How do you feel about this military dog being recognized with Britain's highest award for animals in war? Share your thoughts in a comment.