A Black Labrador named Treo was yesterday given the PDSA Dickin Medal, the highest medal of honour that can be awarded to an animal. The medal is the animal equivalent of a Victoria Cross, and was presented to Treo at a ceremony in London yesterday by Princess Alexandra.
What did Treo do to deserve this high honour? Treo was one of the many sniffer dogs working with our troops in Afghanistan, and his bravery has saved the lives of many soldiers and civilians. Treo found explosive devices that had been hidden, and would have killed dozens of brave men, on two separate occasions.
Treo worked with 104 Military Working Dog Support Unit and completed tours of duty in Helmand province.
Treo becomes the 63rd animal to be awarded with the Dickin Medal from the PDSA, and the 26th dog. Other animals include messenger pigeons from World War II, a trio of horses and a cat.
Treo’s handler is Sgt Dave Heyhoe and they have been together for five years. Treo has now retired from active service and will live out his days with Dave as his family dog.
Sgt Heyhoe commented on Treo:
We started our time together in Northern Ireland, then moved to North Luffenham, where we then went out to Afghanistan in 2008.
We are part and parcel of the search element. We’re not the ultimate answer but we are an aid to search
There were 25 sniffer dogs working in Afghanistan helping to keep the British soldiers alive.
Sgt Heyhoe believes that the rapport he and Treo have built up has been vital to Treo’s success in the field:
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.
Good work Treo!