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Tributes paid to military dog who saved countless lives sniffing out Taliban bombs

A military dog who saved countless lives and won a medal for sniffing out Taliban booby-trap bombs has died.

Spaniel Memphis was 11 when he died after his second bout of cancer.

His owner, former RAF police dog handler Mick McConnell, paid tribute to his bravery yesterday.

Mick, 43, who lost a foot to an IED in Afghanistan, battled back to health so he could adopt Memphis when he retired from the forces in 2014.

Mick, who lives with wife Lorna in Elgin, said: “Memphis beat cancer in 2013. This time it had spread to his spine and lungs. We couldn’t see him in agony so we let him go.

“Lorna and I are devastated. Memphis not only helped me throughout my recovery but kept Lorna smiling too.

“He will be sadly missed and our home is empty without him.”

Memphis was walking ahead of Mick on patrol in 2011 when he stepped on the device which eventually cost him his foot in 2013. The loyal dog went to his injured handler’s side and stayed until help arrived.

Mick fought red tape for months to repay the spaniel’s loyalty by adopting him and credits Memphis with bringing him through the dark times after his foot was amputated.

Memphis was recognised for his bravery at the Soldiering On awards in London two years ago while Mick was nominated for the Record’s Our Heroes award.

Experts believe each dog like Memphis saves the lives of between 150 and 1800 soldiers in the course of their working life.

Read more about Memphis and other military dogs in A Solider's Best Friend by Stephen Paul Stewart.

Published in the Daily Record, 3rd Feburary 2017.

​Stephen Paul Stewart

​Stephen Paul Stewart