A British Army yellow Labrador is to be awarded the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross six years after she was killed in a Taliban attack.
Sasha, who had been trained to find explosives as part of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, was killed along with her handler, Lance Corporal Kenneth Rowe.
Colleagues said that in her work as an advance patrol dog whilst with the 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, she saved dozens of civilian and military lives. In recognition, Sasha will be awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal.
A spokesperson for the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) said:
“Sasha’s determination to search and push forward – despite gruelling conditions and relentless Taliban attacks – was a morale boost to the soldiers who entrusted their lives to her weapon-finding capability.”
The charity spokesperson went on to describe one instance where Sasha discovered two mortar bombs, mines and other explosives, saying:
“This find alone undoubtedly saved the lives of many soldiers and civilians.”
Throughout her service, 15 confirmed findings of hidden weapon caches, improvised explosive devices (IEDS) and mortars were attributed to Sasha.
Based in Kandahar, L/Cpl Rowe was assigned Sasha in 2008, with the 24-year-old soldier and his trusted Labrador quickly becoming considered the foremost dog and handler team working in the region.
The pair was killed together on July 24, 2008. They were carrying out a routine patrol when they were ambushed by the Taliban.
Launched in 1943, Sasha becomes the 65th animal to be awarded the medal, which carries the name of the founder of the PDSA, Maria Dickin.