A British military bomb-sniffing dog joined venerable company today when he was awarded the highest honor a war animal can receive for twice detecting IEDs in Afghanistan. The Dickin Medal was established in 1943 by the founder of an animal health organization. Treo’s handler tells the BBC that the 8-year-old black Labrador, who is now a family pet, saved the lives of many soldiers with his preternatural sense of smell.
Treo joins 26 other dogs who have received the medal, as well as 32 World War II messenger pigeons, 3 horses, and a lone cat. He and his handler worked together for five years before Treo’s retirement, and the two have a “rapport,” the handler says. “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.”