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Army Medic Rescues Hero Afghan Dog With PTSD Due to be put Down

Friday April 11, 2014    8:26 AM

A female soldier who befriended a heroic bomb-hunting dog in Afghanistan tracked down her comrade and gave him a new home after he became too timid to serve on the front lines.

Angie McDonnell, 40, a reservist who served in war-torn Helmand province as a medic, became 'best friends' with four-year-old Vidar while the two were based at Camp Bastion.

The Army reservist, who works full-time as a paramedic, said: 'He saved my life so it's only fair that I did what I could to save his.

'The dogs out there are heroes and I knew from the first moment I saw him that he was a one-in-a-million. He looked like he needed a cuddle so I went into his kennel and rubbed his belly. 'We became best friends out there and I was sad to leave him when I returned home. 'When I heard he had been retired after staring to get scared, I knew I had to track him down to help him. 'I would have done anything to make sure he had a loving home.'

The pair were inseparable during their months of joint service, and would go on runs together and play in the dusty desert between their regular duties. Vidar stayed in Afghanistan when Mrs McDonnell, who served with the 1st Battalion Scots Guards and the 1st Royal Regiment of Fusiliers for a six-month tour. But she later heard her canine friend was experiencing the PTSD-like symptoms after his second tour of duty. She also heard that his eyes were failing, making it unlikely he would be able to return to his former heroic work.

Mrs McDonnell was eventually able to track Vidarn down to a training camp in Germany, from which she was able to arrange for her companion to be sent home. He now lives a happy retirement with her in Barry, South Wales.

She added: 'I had to find him after he had been such a hero in Afghanistan. 'The dogs out there do an amazing job, protecting the men and women serving their country from dangerous IEDs.

'They don't have the fear factor so it broke my heart that after working so hard he had started to get scared.

'Really cute labradors and springer spaniels get rehomed easily but because he's such a big dog I was worried no-one would want him and there was a chance he would get put down.

'I thought we'd have the house torn apart when we brought him home because he wasn't used to living with a family but he's not ripped anything up.

'He's just the perfect dog and I'm so happy I can repay him for saving my life while we served together.'

Photo: Best friends: Angie McDonnell served alongside four-year-old Vidar in Afghanistan.
Photo 2: Lively: Despite Vidar's vibrant personality, he has managed not to damage any furniture at home.
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