Sadie (dog)

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Species Dog
Breed Labrador Retriever
Sex Female
Born 1996
Nation from United Kingdom United Kingdom
Notable role Dogs in warfare / Detection dog
Awards Dickin Medal

Sadie, (born 1996), a black Labrador Retriever, is a recipient of the Dickin Medal,[1] the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross. She was awarded for detecting an explosive device outside the United Nations headquarters in Kabul in November 2005, and was awarded by the Princess Alexandra on 6 February 2007. Her handler at the time of the action which resulted in the award was Lance Corporal Karen Yardley.

Military service[edit]

Trained in Leicestershire,[2] Sadie served in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan and was part of the 102 Military Working Dog Support Unit of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC) based in Sennelager, Germany.[3] She has served for two years and has completed two tours of duty with her handler Lance Corporal Karen Yardly (female RAVC soldiers can serve on the front lines, unlike infantry).[4][5]

Following her military service and the awarding of a Dickin Medal,[1] she retired to live with her handler.[6]

Dickin Medal[edit]

In November 2005 forces serving with NATO's International Security Assistance Force were involved in two separate attacks.[1][7] Sadie and her handler, L/Cpl Karen Yardley, were deployed to search for explosive devices outside the United Nations headquarters in Kabul following a suicide attack. Sadie picked up the scent of a second device through a 2 feet (0.61 m) thick concrete wall,[2] giving disposal experts the opportunity to defuse the bomb which was a pressure cooker bomb -- a pressure cooker filled with TNT.[6][8] The bomb had been covered with sandbags, in order to kill and injure rescue workers following the suicide attack. For her actions, Sadie was awarded the Dickin Medal.[1] Awarded by the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals, it is considered to be the animal's Victoria Cross.[4]

L/Cpl Yardley described the situation; "As Sadie went towards the compound's wall onto the street she picked up a scent. She sat down and stared directly into the wall, which meant there was something right on the other side. I immediately shouted for everyone to get out of the area."[6]

Sadie's Dickin Award citation reads as follows: "Sadie gave a positive indication near a concrete blast wall and multinational personnel were moved to a safe distance. At the site of Sadie's indication, bomb disposal operators later made safe an explosive device. The bomb was designed to inflict maximum injury."[7] Sadie became the 61st recipient of the medal, which she received from Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra on 6 February 2007 in a ceremony at the Imperial War Museum in London, England.[6][9] Fellow military dog Lucky was awarded posthumously at the ceremony for his work in Malaya in 1951.[9] Marilyn Rydström, of the PDSA, said of Sadie's award; "The Dickin Medal is the highest award any animal can receive for bravery in the line of duty and Sadie is a very worthy recipient",[3] while a Ministry of Defence spokesman said "Hundreds of our boys owe their lives to Sadie's keen nose and we're very proud of her."[6]

The Dickin Medal is often referred to as the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.[10]

At a ceremony to commemorate the restoration of the PDSA's Ilford Animal Cemetery in December 2007, Sadie attended with other recent winners of the Dickin Medal as the cemetery is the final resting place of several previous medallists.[11]

During the run up to the first Sun Military Awards in 2008, The Sun suggested that had it been awarded the previous year, that it probably would have gone to Sadie and her handler.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Dickin Medal dogs". People's Dispensary for Sick Animals. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Sniffer dog rewarded for bravery". BBC News. 7 February 2007. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Harding, Thomas (27 January 2007). "Animal VC for Sadie, the heroine of Kabul". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Lucky and Sadie awarded the 'animal VC'". Ministry of Defence. National Archives. 26 January 2007. Archived from the original on 8 January 2008. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Chesshyre, Robert (20 January 2011). "Dogs of war: sniffer dogs lead the way in Afghanistan". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Martin, Arthur (26 January 2007). "Labrador Sadie gets animal VC for sniffing out Afghan bomb". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Menzies, Janet (25 February 2010). "Help For Heroes: Gundog Class - Canine Heroes and the Dickin Medal". The Field. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  8. ^ Hale, Beth (14 December 2007). "The cats and dogs of war get their own VCs at special awards ceremony". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Animal VCs for hero dogs". Daily Mail. London. 6 February 2007. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  10. ^ Long, David (2012). The animals' VC: for gallantry and devotion: the PDSA Dickin Medal - inspiring stories of bravery and courage. London: Preface. ISBN 9781848093768. 
  11. ^ Bell, Sarah (13 December 2007). "Fitting tribute to animal heroes". BBC News. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  12. ^ "Tails of bravery also honoured". The Sun. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 

External links[edit]