Monday, 24 June 2013

Hero Dog to Stay at Helpful Holidays Cottage

It’s a pleasure to see pet dogs lapping up their holidays in our cottages and that’s even more true of heroic visitor Brin: the dog who saved soldier’s lives by barking to warn them of a hidden bomb in Afghanistan.

His owner, Sally Baldwin, is escorting him to the War Dogs Exhibition at Davidstowe Airfield on 27th-28th July.

Brin was adopted by the British Army when they found him starving near a base in Helmand. They discovered his talent for sniffing out bombs and he began joining them on patrols. It was on such a patrol that his talent saved the life of two soldiers. Brin was later captured by the Taliban but was found by Special Forces during a mission months later.

Sally started a fundraising mission to bring the stray to the UK after she read his story of heroism on the internet. He would not be flown home with troops so she started collecting donations, pledges of support and selling her own car. She arranged for Brin to be hidden in a convoy truck and driven through some of the most inhospitable areas of Afghanistan before being flown to the UK and quarantined. She had the help of Nowzad, a charity dedicated to relieving the suffering of animals in Afghanistan.

Sally said: “I saw his picture on the internet. I read his story of how, as a stray, he had saved soldier’s lives by barking at a hidden bomb devise in Helmand, survived capture, starvation and broken ribs by the Taliban, and for the next three months it became a race against time to get him home.”

Sally visited Brin in quarantine. “Three times a week I would drive 60 miles to be with him, bring him toys to play with and building his trust. Although always friendly, he was not used to fuss and would spend time just sitting at a distance watching me. The turning point came when I fell asleep on his bed and woke up with him curled up beside me. I will never forget that moment.”

Brin and Sally now work together to raise money for other animals in need. Sally said: “I made a promise to Brin the day he came home that I would never forget the others who, each and every day, through no fault of their own struggle to survive and together we  travel the UK sharing his story to help raise awareness for so many who wait for the same chance.

Brin has helped to raise over £8,000 for the charity in Afghanistan and in 2011 was awarded the PDSA Commendation for Loyalty towards the British forces. Not bad for a starving Afghan stray who simply barked at a hidden bomb to warn the lads of danger. In 2013 Brin was award the British Animal Honour (Canine Commando).

To find out more about our dog-friendly cottages click here