UK

Injured war dog Hobo back on duty after Taliban attack

Hobo with Pte Patrick Medhurst-Feeney
Image caption Army vet, Pte Medhurst-Feeney, says Hobo recovered "fantastically well"

A bomb sniffer dog almost killed in a Taliban grenade attack 10 days ago is back on the front line in Afghanistan.

Black Labrador Hobo was hit three times with shrapnel when the 2nd Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles came under fire in Nahr-e Saraj in Helmand province.

Bleeding heavily from the neck, abdomen and body, Hobo was given first aid and airlifted to base with wounded troops. He was back on his feet in two days.

Cpl Arjun Limbu said having him back on patrol was a "real morale boost".

Hobo's patrol dived for cover in a compound when insurgents attacked with small arms fire and grenades on 21 July.

Moments later the dog, who is trained to seek out explosives, was pelted with shards of metal and lay flat on the ground.

Patrol leader Capt George Shipman, of 29 Commando Royal Artillery attached to the Ghurkha battalion, fought to keep Hobo alive.

The 28-year-old said: "We realised quickly that Hobo had been hit. He was bleeding heavily from the base of his neck.

"I administered a blood clotting agent and applied pressure and a field dressing to stem the bleeding and protect from infection. Hobo remained really calm throughout and just stood there while we treated him.

"I found it hard, harder than treating a human casualty because I couldn't explain what was going on.

Image caption Hobo has been in Helmand province for two months

"Hobo's become one of us, bounding around the patrol base all the time, so we're very fond of him."

Vets treated the Labrador at Camp Bastion and were able to avoid surgery because of the first aid administered in the field.

Pte Patrick Medhurst-Feeny, a vet with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, said: "Hobo has recovered fantastically well. He's an athletic 33kg and is bounding around as if nothing had happened. The prognosis is very positive. He's in great shape.

"We won't remove the shrapnel from the abdomen. The wound will heal nicely and Hobo will be back out on the ground, detecting IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and saving soldiers lives again in no time."

Cpl Limbu, of A Company, 2nd Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles, added: "It's great to have him back with us - it's a real morale boost and he's running around just like before."

Hobo, who will be three on Monday, has been "battle inoculated" against loud noises and explosions and has had training to minimise any trauma following the attack.

He has been in Helmand for two months, and his tour is due to end in November, when he will return to the UK.

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