Treo the black Labrador is considered the British military's bravest dog. During his time in the military, he saved dozens of soldiers' lives, and when he retired, became handler Sgt. Dave Heyhoe's best friend.
The dog served in the military starting at age 2 and retired when his handler did, in 2010. Three months ago, Treo died at age 14, leaving Heyhoe, 46, and his family devastated.
To honor the loyal companion and comrade who not only saved his life but brought the unconditional joy only a man's best friend can provide, Dave recently had a tattoo inked on his leg made of Treo's ashes, the Daily Star reported.
"People might think it's strange, but Treo was like a son to me, and his death his knocked me for six."
(The English slang "knocked for six" means totally devastated, and refers to the highest score one can get in cricket, the Epoch Times explained.)
The dog joined the British Army when he was only two years old because his previous owners said he misbehaved. According to the Daily Mail, he and Treo met in 2005, when the sergeant took over for another soldier and became his primary trainer and handler. Heyhoe joined the Cheshire Regiment in 1986 and trained with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps in 1999.
By 2008, the two were sent into combat together.
Canine and handler went to Afghanistan, where Treo worked as an arms and explosives search dog for five years. And he was excellent at his job, at one point sniffing out a "daisy-chain" device composed of numerous attached bombs, planted by the Taliban in the Helmand Province.
Together, they saved dozens of lives.
In 2010, after he retired, the canine's life-saving service was recognized when he received the Dickin Medal for Gallantry which is sometimes called the animal version of the Victoria Cross. According to the Dodo, the military award recognizes exceptional animal service.
Dave retired in 2010 after 24 years. The veteran pooch also left the Army to retire as a pampered house dog with his comrade in England. There, he became part of the veteran's family with his wife, Rachel, and their kids, Thomas, 12, Oliver, 10, and Ellie-Anne, 4, all of whom became very attached.
Heyhoe even wrote a book about his beloved dog called It's All About Treo: Life and War with the World's Bravest Dog.
And now, Treo will be with his owner forever thanks to an unusual tattoo that includes the pooch's ashes.
Last Saturday, he brought an exact replica of his paw print along with some of his ashes to a tattoo parlor and had the paw print and the words "Treo 63 DM," along with a touching service dog poem, tattooed on his calf.
Before the tribute was drawn on his skin, the tattoo artist sprinkled the dog's ashes into the ink.
"The tattoo completes me. Over the years we have seen gunfire, death and bomb scares together -- I've been lost without him. Now it feels like Treo is by my side -- where he's supposed to be. I felt a sense of peace after I had it done - I could feel him there by my side where he'd always been. My family and the kids were so close with (him) so it's nice for them to look at the tattoo, too."
The poem is enough to bring tears to anyone's eyes.
I will lay down my life for you and expect nothing but love in return. I protect my Dad with my life, and would gladly take a bullet in his place. I find weapons and bombs. I am the first sent in and sometimes the last to leave. I am the nose and ears of my Dad. I protect and serve him. I would die for him and for you. I only ask for compassion and a kind word.
[Image via Facebook]