Cornwall

Cornish soldiers help the military dogs of Afghanistan

Thousands of South West soldiers are now a third of their way through the biggest troop deployment to Afghanistan since the fighting started ten years ago.

For some it involves working in the Military Working Dog Support Unit handling more than 70 specially trained dogs on the front line.

Each animal has its own first aid kit and sleeps in air-conditioned kennels.

It is the dogs, not the soldiers, which have the camp's only swimming pool.

The dogs and their handlers have a uniquely close relationship both in barracks in Aldershot and when deployed on operations.

Private Daniel Gregory, from Bodmin, helps look after the dogs at Camp Bastion.

He said: "It's the love of the dogs, working outside everyday. It's a good job, a really good job."

Private Patrick Medhurst-Feeny, 22, from Bugle near Bodmin, is on his first deployment to Afghanistan.

He has been working with a German Shepherd called Vinka since March.

"My main job is to assist the veterinary surgeon we have, any daily treatments for any of the dogs who have any on-going problems. I am also helping out with patrols on Bastion itself."

The unit also has vehicle search dogs and explosives search dogs which are trained to sniff out improvised explosive devices (IED's).

The Cornish soldiers who look after the dogs receive first aid training for canines and carry first aid boxes while on patrol in order to treat a dog that is injured.

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