Army dog handler Liam Tasker, a Lance Corporal in the British army, was said to be inseparable from his spaniel, Theo. On Tuesday, Tasker was shot dead while on patrol north of Nahr-e-Saraj in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. Theo, who was trained to search for bombs, survived but, on returning to the British base at Camp Bastion, he suffered a heart attack and died.
The Guardian describes 26-year-old Tasker as having a ‘”natural empathy with dogs”‘:
Born in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Tasker joined the Royal Army Veterinary Corps after starting his career as a vehicle mechanic. A member of 1st Military Working Dog Regiment, he was attached to 1st Battalion Irish Guards in Afghanistan.
Major Alexander Turner, officer commanding 2 Company, 1st Battalion Irish Guards, said: “He used to joke that Theo was impossible to restrain but I would say the same about Lance Corporal Tasker. At the most hazardous phase of an advance, he would be at the point of the spear, badgering to get even further forward and work his dog. He met his fate in just such a situation – leading the way that we might be safe.”
Tasker’s family said that he ‘”died a hero doing a job he was immensely passionate about.”‘
May Liam Tasker and Theo both rest in peace knowing that they are both heros.
A photo of Tasker and Theo can be seen at the Guardian’s site; the photo of a spaniel very much in action and alert in the desert that illustrates this post is of ’Harvey’ the Springer Spaniel is an Arms Explosive Search (AES) dog, who was serving in Afghanistan in 2008.
The video below depicts how dogs like Theo are trained to detect bombs.
Photo of 'Harvey' the Springer Spaniel is an Arms Explosive Search (AES) dog, currently serving in Afghanistan by Defence Images.
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