A HERO military dog, who died just hours after his handler was killed in Afghanistan, is to be awarded the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.
Theo, who had formed a hugely successful partnership with Lance Corporal Liam Tasker, from Kirkcaldy, is to be honoured with the posthumous presentation of the PDSA Dickin Medal.
The Medal, first instituted by PDSA in 1943, is the highest award any animal can receive in recognition of conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty in saving human life while serving in military conflict. Theo’s is the first PDSA Dickin Medal to be presented since 2010.
Theo was deployed with Lance Corporal Tasker as part of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps’s 1st Military Working Dog Regiment during conflict in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011.
Their role was to provide search and clearance support, uncovering hidden weapons, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and bomb-making equipment.
During his time in Afghanistan, Theo made 14 confirmed operational finds, the most any arms and explosives search dog in Afghanistan has found to date, and as a result saved many other soldiers and innocent civilians from death and serious injury.
On March 1, 2011, Theo and Lance Corporal Tasker were on a mission in support of the Irish Guards in the Nahr-e Saraj district in Helmand, when a fire-fight broke out, killing Lance Corporal Tasker.
Theo was being taken back to Bastion when he started having seizures. Despite immediate first aid and veterinary treatment he unfortunately died.
“We are very proud to posthumously award Theo the Dickin Medal,” said PDSA director general Jan McLoughlin. “His exceptional devotion to duty as a military working dog in Afghanistan saved countless human lives.
“The award of this medal honours his service in life and his sacrifice in death. It serves as a very poignant reminder of the loyal companionship and dedication of man’s best friend.”