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.


  1. I was so moved by the story of Sabi the Australian bomb-sniffing dog that was found in Afghanistan after 14 months of wandering after fleeing a "firefight"...I decided to write a little ditty for her. I hope you enjoy it. I suppose it is mushy "doggerel"..I just can't help myself...
    In a frightened field of conflict
    In a land of heat and clay
    An Aussie pooch named Sabi
    got scared .... and ran away
    Sabi was used to dynamite
    She knew its acrid stink
    But with bombs and bullets flying
    She scarce had chance to think
    For many months she wandered
    through hostile days and nights
    She missed her Aussie brothers
    who had to stay and fight
    A yankee soldier found her
    and knew her story bold
    He returned her to her brothers
    now no more desert cold!
    Just Peace and Food and Loving pats
    and perhaps a medal gold!
    (Andy Mathisen Nov 12th, 2009)

  2. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 11/13/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  3. I would like to send a shoe box of doggy treats to the detection dogs, do you think I could address it personally to 1 dog so that he/she may share with cannine friends or does it have to be posted personally to a Handler, if so please can someone point me in the right direction of who to address it to, we have no family in the forces but would love to donate, especially if we could donate to a Welsh handler/Dog.

    Also I would appreciate it if someone could let me know exactly what is needed i.e treats, tennis balls,dog grooming items,wet wipes, chews, rope ball, you name it I'll go & get it for you LOL.

    Also if anybody needs anything just let me know.

    Take care.

    Babs Diment