AN ARMY sniffer dog named Sadie who has saved the lives of dozens of soldiers in Afghanistan by sniffing out a bomb, could be in line for the Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.
Black Labrador Sadie, eight, has already been put up for a military commendation after detecting a pressure cooker packed with TNT on the other side of a two-foot thick concrete blast wall. The device had been planted under sandbags yards from where a suicide car bombing had killed a German soldier outside the United Nations headquarters in Kabul. About 200 people, including British, American, German and Greek soldiers were within range of the device.
Sadie and her handler Lance Corporal Karen Yardley, had been called to check for secondary devices after the car bombing. Leaving a second bomb is a classic terrorist tactic.
The booby-trap was discovered when Sadie suddenly "showed intention" as L/Cpl Yardley, 26, took her on a search of the UN car park.
Sadie's tail wagged vigorously, "enough to break your leg", according to L/Cpl Yardley. She then sniffed the air, her tail went rigid and she sat down facing the wall.
"I looked at my colleague who was with another dog and he was off running and shouting at everyone to leave the area," said L/Cpl Yardley, of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps.
Bomb disposal experts used a robot to make the device safe.
"Me and my colleagues are extremely proud of Sadie," said L/Cpl Yardley. "She definitely saved lives that day and she certainly saved my life."
Sadie has already served in Bosnia and Iraq and is part of 102 Military Working Dog Support Unit based in Sennelager, Germany.
L/Cpl Yardley, who is coming towards the end of a six-month tour in Afghanistan, believes that Sadie, who is due to retire soon, could be recommended for the PDSA animal charity's Dickin Medal.
The Dickin Medal has been awarded to 60 animals since it was introduced in 1943 during WW2 and is inscribed: "For Gallantry, We also serve"