A brave military dog who was injured while helping the British Army search for explosives in Afghanistan has won a national award.
Military working dog Sam has been named as the Public Service Animal of the Year at the Daily Mirror Animal Hero Awards.
Based at St George’s Barracks, North Luffenham, Sam is part of 105 Military Working Dog Squadron, 1st Military Working Dog Regiment.
Lance corporal Laura Howarth, who is Sam’s handler, said: “He has taught me the foundations of working on the ground with a search dog and given me the trust and confidence needed to work efficiently as a handler.
“While he has a very energetic personality he remains a very loyal dog and will work hard to please his handler.
“It has been a pleasure to work with him from day one and I look forward to working with him throughout the rest of my career as a military working dog handler.”
The seven-year-old cocker spaniel has been deployed on numerous tours of Afghanistan.
During his first tour of the country in October 2013 he fell down a 30-foot well and broke his foot while on a search operation.
He was evacuated to Camp Bastion, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, where Sam was treated.
The cocker spaniel later returned to the UK for recovery and rehabilitation from his injury.
Sam had recovered within six-months and was able to work again.
He was part of the team used for Operation Ismay searching areas and buildings to ensure security during the NATO summit which was held in Wales during 2014.
Military chiefs state that Sam has outstanding ability and is the Army’s best arms explosives search dog,
He has been used twice on Operation Toral, in October 2015 for four months and then again in November 2016 for a further four months.
During these tours he found illegal narcotics and conducted countless searches to ensure the safety of both UK and foreign military personnel.
The Daily Mirror awards recognise and celebrate the most inspiring examples of bravery, dedication and resilience from within the animal world.