Hero dog back on the frontline

by Mark James on August 4, 2011

A bomb sniffing dog who was injured by the Taliban in a grenade attack is back on the front line.

Hobo, a black Labrador, was hit by three pieces of shrapnel from a grenade launched by Taliban forces whilst he was on patrol with 2nd Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles.

hoboThe battalion came under fire whilst on patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj area of Helmand Province. Bleeding profusely from a neck wound, Hobo was given emergency first aid and was airlifted back to base along with several injured troops.

Captain George Shipman, who led the patrol, leaped into action to save Hobo’s life.

The 28-year-old, who is part of 29 Commando Royal Artillery and is currently seconded to the Ghurkas, recounted the incident. He said:

“I administered a blood clotting agent and applied pressure and a field dressing to stem the bleeding and protect from infection. Hobo remained really calm throughout and just stood there while we treated him.”

“I found it hard, harder than treating a human casualty because I couldn’t explain what was going on.”

In fact, Captain Shipman’s quick thinking saved Hobo from surgery. A veterinary surgeon back at Camp Bastion credited his actions. Private Patrick Medhurst-Feeny said:

“Hobo has recovered fantastically well. He’s an athletic 33kg and is bounding around as if nothing had happened. The prognosis is very positive. He’s in great shape.”

“The wounds will heal nicely and Hobo will be back out on the ground, detecting IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and saving soldiers lives again in no time.”

The dog training that Hobo underwent undoubtedly helped him through his trauma – he has been inoculated to loud noises, so he is comfortable in battle. In fact, Hobo will boast a war wound – vets decided not to remove the shrapnel that lodged in his abdomen, so the 3-year-old pooch will carry it with him as a reminder of his service for the rest of his life.

Maybe tomorrow, Hobo will want to settle down, but for now he’s happy fighting the Taliban.

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