In partnership with the British Army
A war veteran made such a connection with his dog while they were in Afghanistan together he got the ultimate memorial after he died.
Sergeant Dave Heyhoe got a tattoo to commemorate his dog Treo, which includes ink that is mixed with the ashes of this dog itself.
Treo was originally given to the army by his owners who couldn’t look after him due to his bad behaviour. During his time in the military, he grew into the dog that would be remembered as one of the bravest dogs in British military history.
Treo was a black Labrador-spaniel crossbreed, and was 14 when he died. Treo was awarded the Dickin Medal in February 2010.
The Dickin Medal is the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, the highest honour a member of the Army can receive.
During Treo’s seven years in action, he prevented the deaths of dozens of British soldiers by sniffing out improvised explosive devices.
Dogs are an essential part of military action, and working with them can be one of the major benefits of joining the forces.
An MOD career in the Army Reserves could serve as the perfect way to forge a career in animal handling.
Dog handlers are skilled soldiers who work with Military Working Dogs wherever the Army is deployed, and moonlight as animal lovers, obviously.
Your career would start by working with Protection Military Working Dogs, like the pups in the video above.
You might then be selected to go on to handle Specialist Military Working Dogs – like Treo – that can detect arms, explosives, fleeing intruders and illegal narcotics.
As part of the Army Reserves, you’ll start with Phase 1 training, which will take place over four consecutive weekends, followed by a two-week course, or a couple of two-week consolidated courses. You’ll learn about weapon handling, range work, drill, physical training and deploy on exercise.
After Phase 1, you’ll go on to your Special Arms Training. You’ll handle and work a Protection Dog during training weekends and annual training camps, and have the chance to deploy on exercise on national or international tasks.
Later, you’ll have the chance to train as a Vehicle Search Dog Handler.
Skills training takes place at the Defence Animal Centre in Melton Mowbray and involves a 16-day residential course, learning about basic veterinary care, animal husbandry, patrolling skills and kennel maintenance.
These skills are essential if you’re to go on to join the regiment as a qualified Dog Handler.
You don’t need any formal qualifications, just a good attitude towards tackling risks, outdoor pursuits, adrenaline-fuelled working days, leading a team, as well as befriending and handling some of Man’s best friends.
You'll also learn skills that civilian employers recognise such as security, driving small vehicles and veterinary work.
But, you could leave training with Level 2 and 3 Diplomas in Work-based Animal Care (QCF), as well as a lifelong bond with the dogs you train with.
Private Murphy, a vehicle Search Dog Handler with 1st Military Working Dog Regiment, said:
I have found my role as a dog handler extremely rewarding and satisfying. I've travelled to many different parts of the world including Germany, Cyprus and Afghanistan; training and getting experience in a challenging and varied role.
I deployed as a Vehicle Search Handler with my Military Working Dog, Jerry, searching for arms and explosives.
There's room to quickly move up the ranks, from Private, to Lance Corporal to Corporal and beyond, with each and every promotion garnering more pay.
All the while, you'll receive all the benefits of Army life, like good rates of basic pay, free healthcare, and subsidised food and accommodation - not to mention the companionship of some furry, fiercely loyal friends.
To find out more, go to Army: Be The Best.