In March of 2011, in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, Lance Corporal Liam Tasker was killed by enemy fire. Lance Corporal Tasker was a specialized dog handler, and he was well known for being utterly inseparable from his arms-and-explosives-sniffing dog Theo, a springer spaniel who has been credited with more successful finds during his time in Afghanistan than any other dog with the British military, and is believed by so doing to have saved many human lives. The relationship between the two was such that Lance Corporal Tasker would prefer to consume his meals outdoors, with Theo, rather than leaving his trusted dog outside while he ate in the canteen.
Several hours after witnessing Lance Corporal Tasker being killed by enemy fire, the springer spaniel Theo was overcome by seizures, and died despite veterinary treatment.
The medal which has been awarded to Theo posthumously is one which is called the Dickin Medal (after its founder) and is also known as the animals’ Victoria Cross. It originated in the Second World War and has been used since then to recognize twenty-eight dogs, one cat, three horses and thirty-two WWII carrier pigeons.
May both of these heroes of the war in Afghanistan rest in peace. (Photo via Britain’s Ministry of Defence.)