Museum display highlights life-saving work of Melton-trained military working dogs

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Medals awarded to three heroic military working dogs trained at Melton’s Defence Animal Centre have gone on public display in the town for the first time.

The Royal Army Veterinary Corps has loaned the PDSA Dickin Medals to exhibit as part of a display which opened this week at Melton Carnegie Museum.

The display also includes some video footage about the three dogs and an information panel giving some background on the Dickin Medal.

The medals, issued by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) are widely recognised as the animals’ Victoria Cross. They are awarded to animals displaying gallantry or devotion to duty while serving during military conflict.

The recipients of the medals on display include arms and explosive search dog Sasha, who died along with her handler, Lance Corporal Ken Rowe, in July 2008 when their patrol was ambushed on the way back from a routine search operation in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Both had been due to return home the previous day but had stayed on to provide cover for their comrades. Sasha - a four-year-old Labrador Retriever - was awarded the Dickin Medal posthumously in May 2014 in recognition of her service.

Also honoured with a medal posthumously in October 2012 - for saving countless lives - was bomb detection dog Theo who had a special bond with his handler, Lance Corporal Liam Tasker.

During their time in Afghanistan Theo found a record 14 bombs and weapons caches within five months - the most any arms and explosives search dog in Afghanistan has found to date.

Springer Spaniel cross Theo died of a seizure in March 2011 just hours after L Cpl Tasker was killed in a firefight while they were on a mission together.

The final Dickin Medal recipient is sniffer dog Treo who was deployed to Helmand Province in March 2008 to search for weapons and munitions concealed by the Taliban. Treo, who retired in August 2009, was awarded the medal in recognition of his life-saving work and devotion.

A County Hall spokesman said: “This is the first time the Dickin Medals have gone on public display in the county so it’s a real honour for the museum and we’re grateful to the RAVC for the loan of the items.”