Theo, a bomb-sniffing Springer Spaniel who died in Afghanistan on the day his soldier partner, Lance Corporal Liam Tasker, was killed, was posthumously honored on Wednesday with the Dickin Medal, Britain's highest award for bravery by animals, reports CBSNews.com.
Theo worked alongside Cpl. Tasker, searching for roadside bombs in Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold. He received this award for finding hidden weapons and improvised explosive devices planted by the Taliban, and he still holds the record for the most operational finds made by an arms-and-explosives search dog in Afghanistan--with a total of 14.
Since 1943, the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) Dickin Medal has recognized gallantry by animals serving with the military, police or rescue services.
The devoted Springer Spaniel, died from an undiagnosed seizure hours after his handler Lance Corporal Tasker was killed on March 1, 2011, in a firefight with insurgents. Theo had worked with his human hero for five months in Afghanistan with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps.
Tasker's mother, Jane Duffy, says the pair were inseparable. She's convinced Theo died of a broken heart.
Ms. Duffy, wearing her son's military medals, will accept the award for Theo. "They'll be watching us, and they'll be so proud," she said. "I just wish they were here to get it themselves."
The PDSA Dickin medal recognizes that in finding IEDs and bomb-making equipment, Theo prevented soldiers and civilians from being killed or wounded.
“British soldiers and military dogs gathered at a London army barracks Thursday to honor a fallen hero with selfless courage, nerves of steel — and four legs,” writes TimesofIndia.com.