Military Search Dog Treo Receives Dickin Medal of Honor

Yesterday, a Black Labrador named Treo received the Dickin Medal, an award for animals in the military.

Receiving a Dickin Medal probably doesn’t mean a whole lot to Treo, a Black Labrador from England. He is, after all, a dog.

But even though Treo may not recognize the significance of the honor, plenty of people do—and yesterday, an enthusiastic crowd gathered at the Imperial War Museum in London to watch this top dog get his day.

Though Treo is recently retired, and now spends his days lounging around in the comfortable home of his handler, Sargeant Dave Hayhoe, he previously held a long and distinguished career as a military dog, sniffing out bombs and explosives to protect the British troops he traveled with.

Over a five-year period, “we started our time together in Northern Ireland, then moved to North Luffenham, where we then went out to Afghanistan in 2008,” Sgt. Hayhoe told BBC News.

In August and September of 2008, Treo sniffed out two lethal “daisy chain” bombs that were made of numerous explosives in Sangin, Afghanistan. His discovery likely saved the lives of hundreds of soldiers.

The Dickin Medal is the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, and is given to animals who have demonstrated great skill in military service. Previous recipients have included other search-and-rescue dogs, World War II messenger pigeons, three police horses, and even a cat named Simon, who served as an unofficial mascot and morale booster on the HMS Amethyst during WWII. Treo is the 63rd recipient of the medal since its establishment in 1943.

Even though Treo has a distinguished record of service, Sgt. Heyhoe says that there’s more to his canine pal than his military achievements.

“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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