Thursday, November 12, 2009
Dog Returns home after a year in the Afghan wilderness
An Australian Special Forces explosive detection dog has been found alive and well more than a year after she went missing in action in Afghanistan.
Black Labrador “Sabi” was recovered by a US Soldier at an isolated patrol base in Oruzgan Province, after going missing in the same September 2008 battle during which Trooper Mark Donaldson, earned his Victoria Cross.
Nine Australian soldiers, including Sabi’s handler, were wounded during the fighting.
The US soldier who recovered Sabi, who can be identified only by his first name John, was aware that Australian Special Forces were missing one of their explosive detection dogs.
He said it was immediately obvious that Sabi was no ordinary canine.
“I took the dog and gave it some commands it understood,” John said.
John said he thanked the man who was with Sabi and shook his hand.
Sabi was then flown to Tarin Kowt to be reunited with one of her Australian Special Forces trainers.
“I nudged a tennis ball to her with my foot and she took it straight away,” the trainer said.
“It’s a game we used to play over and over during her training. It’s amazing, just incredible, to have her back.”
Currently in the United Kingdom after meeting Her Majesty the Queen, Trooper Mark Donaldson, VC said Sabi’s return had closed a chapter of their shared history.
“She’s the last piece of the puzzle,” Trooper Donaldson said.
“Having Sabi back gives some closure for the handler and the rest of us that served with her in 2008. It’s a fantastic morale booster for the guys.”
At the time of her disappearance Sabi was coming to the end of her second tour of duty in Afghanistan, having previously deployed in 2007.