Our most decorated canine has died
The former Australian Army explosive detection dog, who went missing for almost 14 months in Afghanistan, suffered a number of seizures in recent weeks and scans revealed a brain tumour.
Her handler, Warrant Officer Class Two David Simpson said that Sarbi had died peacefully surrounded by her loved ones on Friday.
“Sarbi had a wonderful life serving Australia as an explosive detection dog and as a pet at home for the last five years,” Warrant Officer Class Two Simpson said.
“Sarbi will live on in everyone’s hearts and minds and I hope that her story of perseverance and determination will inspire you to do whatever you can to achieve your goals and dreams.”
Sarbi went missing after a joint Australian, American and Afghan vehicle convoy was ambushed by insurgents in September 2008. Nine Australian soldiers, including Sarbi’s handler, were wounded during this action. It was also the same action for which Corporal Mark Donaldson received the Victoria Cross for Australia.
A dog matching Sarbi’s description was found by an American soldier in north-eastern Uruzgan province and returned to the Australian Base in Tarin Kot, where handlers confirmed her identity.
For her brave efforts, Sarbi was awarded the War Dog Operational Medal, the Canine Service Medal and RSPCA Purple Cross Award. The RSPCA Purple Cross Award recognises the deeds of animals that have shown outstanding service to humans, particularly if they showed exceptional courage in risking their own safety or life to save a person from injury or death.
Last month, a south-east Queensland dog park was named in her honour.