This is a nice story of a 12-year-old black labrador whose name is Reqs. I think the name is a take on the usual ‘Rex’. A clever variation. He has spent 11 years – most of his life so far – as an employee of the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service during which time he has attended more than 500 fires as reported by The Times.
Reqs is trained to sniff out inflammables such as petrol and lighter fluid to help detect arson. He has been successful on many occasions such as when he found vital evidence after a fire in Leicester which killed five people. The investigation with Reqs help found that 26 litres of petrol had been ignited in the basement.
I say that he has been awarded an OBE. It is the PDSA Order of Merit which is considered to be the animal equivalent of the human OBE.
Req’s handler, Watch Commander Nikki Harvey, said: “He is an amazing dog who as well as his devotion to duty and service within the fire service is also a loving member of our family. He’s helped me through many tough times, at work and personally. Together we’ve attended some traumatic scenes, but he’s the only one who pulls me through and we always had a hug at the end of a bad day.”
She said that he is enjoying “every minute” of retirement.
The PDSA award recognises animals who’ve demonstrated outstanding devotion above and beyond normal companionship. The award was given to him at a ceremony at Hertfordshire’s Joint Emergency Services Academy in Stevenage.
The PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) is the UK’s leading veterinary charity. They are known for recognising animals who have gone beyond the usual call of duty. Perhaps the best-known recipient – at least from my perspective – would be Simon, a cat who serves during World War II who received the human equivalent of the VC. You can read about Simon if you wish by clicking on this link.
The director general of the PDSA, Jan McLoughlin said that Reqs was a “very worthy recipient of the award”.