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Labrador Retriever Who Once An Aggressive Dog Became The Best Bomb-Sniffer

This is the story of Treo, a decorated dog war hero and a retired member of the British military. He was a black Labrador Retriever-English Springer Spaniel crossbreed who served in Afghanistan and a 104 Military Working Dog Support Unit member.

His military handler, Sgt. Dave Heyhoe, became his best friend, and the two served together in Northern Ireland before being sent to Afghanistan.

Treo was given to the Army due to his general lousy behavior and propensity for snapping and growling at people. His former owners hoped that the Army would help him straighten out.

He began a 12-week training course at the Defence Animal Centre before being deployed to Northern Ireland with his first handler for three years. Sergeant Dave Heyhoe took over control of Treo after his first handler left the Army.

In 2008, the trained sniffer discovered two hidden bombs in Helmand province. Treo received the Dickin Medal, Britain’s highest military honor for an animal, in 2010.

Treo was nominated for the award by the military for his assistance in uncovering several improvised explosive devices (IEDs) while serving in Helmand Province, an insurgency hotspot, in 2008. Treo was the 63rd recipient of the medal.

Treo and his handler Sergeant Heyhoe were deployed to Afghanistan in 2008, becoming one of 25 dogs assisting British troops. Treo discovered an IED, known as a daisy chain, because of how multiple explosive devices are wired together, hidden by Taliban insurgents along the side of a road on August 1, 2008.

In September 2008, he discovered a second daisy chain, saving the lives of both British soldiers and civilians. The insurgents took note of his success in detecting IEDs and intercepted radio traffic, included references to “the black dog.” He retired in August 2009 and was honored with the Dickin Medal at the Imperial War Museum in London in February 2010.

Treo retired from the military after seven years to live at home with Heyhoe. Treo returned home to live with Heyhoe after both completed their military service, and Heyhoe claimed Treo’s actions saved the lives of many soldiers. Heyhoe buried him with his Dickin Medal and a Union Jack after his death was announced in October 2015.

Source: Mental Floss

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