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Shellshocked dog to come home

A SHELL-shocked British army sniffer dog suffering from post traumatic stress disorder is to spend six months quarantine on the peaceful island of Cyprus before being repatriated to the UK after a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Four-year old Max, a yellow Labrador, and his army handler managed to survive a suicide bombing in Kabul several months ago but Max never fully recovered psychologically from the attack and will no longer be sent to war zones.

Max is due to arrive in Cyprus in mid March and will join other dogs returning from combat, who spend six months on the island before going home under the Pet Passport Scheme, having had ‘in house’ quarantine.

His kennel-master Sergeant Martin Evans, 39, of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, said: ‘Max and his handler were right in the blast way and were knocked down the road by the force of the explosion. Neither of them were injured but since that time Max doesn't work as well as he used to.’

Max and dogs like him are trained to detect explosives, often working 15 hours a day and are able to pick up a scent from explosives or weapons from several hundred yards away. While their handlers stay back at a distance of up to 100 yards, the dogs are let off the leash to go and sniff around suspect areas.

Evans said Max had become too nervous outside the base to be effective at his job. ‘If he goes out into the local environment he's particularly wary of local Afghan people,’ he said. ‘You'll see a change of character and he becomes withdrawn. You could say he is suffering from a form of post-traumatic stress disorder.’

A spokeswoman for the MoD told PA that Max would continue to work in the UK on a limited basis and that one of his previous handlers had put in a request to adopt him