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Treo Wins Dickin Medal

Treo and his handler Sgt. Dave Heyhoe

Sergeant Dave Heyhoe and his Military Working Dog Treo were one of the top military teams in Afghanistan. Trained as an armed explosive search dog, the black Lab was able to save many lives during his deployment by searching for weapons and explosives on the ground. "Treo uses his highly professional nose to find things that we as human can't," explains Sgt. Heyhoe.

When the duo was deployed to Afghanistan, they had a very important job to do. "Basically what we (were) doing was we were front of the patrol and we (were) clearing the ground in front of the troops to make sure there were no Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) out there to kill us," says Sgt. Heyhoe. "The impact is that the guys on the ground that we were supporting have come home safe and that's the be all and end all of it."

Treo was considered an expert in his field. His achievements included detecting "daisy chain" bombs in Sangin where two or more bombs were wired together and concealed along the roadside. Sgt. Heyhoe speaks with pride as he describes Treo. "There're plenty of dog handlers out there that will say that their dogs are the best, but since I've been working Treo, with what he has achieved, and what he has found in Afghanistan, it (is) just immense what this dog can do."

Because of his outstanding achievements, Treo has been awarded Dickin Medal, which is the canine equivalent of the Victoria Cross in the United Kingdom and the Medal of Honor in the United States. It is the highest award that an animal can receive in recognition of honor and devotion to duty while serving in military conflict. Only 62 other Dickin Medals have been given to animals since it was instituted in 1943 and it was the first medal given since 2007. The Lab was also named Best Armed Forces Animal at The Sun newspaper's Military Awards and was a finalist in the Crufts Friends for Life competition in 2010.

Now retired at age 10, Treo lives in Rutland, England and is now a family pet. Sgt. Heyhoe speaks fondly of his MWD. He says that although he has no children of his own, he will always consider Treo as his child.