Kevin and Dazz are war heroes. The two Belgian Malinois served for several tours in Afghanistan where they sniffed out explosives for the U.K. army. Driver is a former police dog. The three heroic hounds likely have saved hundreds of lives in their careers.
But Kevin, Dazz and Driver were retired several years ago and, because of aggressive personalities, were deemed unfit to be adopted into new homes.
Although experienced K-9 handlers stepped up offering to take care of the dogs, their offers were refused. The service dogs were set to be put down once the army ruled them unsafe for new homes, reported The Sun.
But Andy McNab, soldier turned novelist, was having none of that. He started an online petition to save the dogs.
"Service dogs have saved my life on numerous occasions. We have a duty to save them," he wrote. "In Afghanistan when I was on a patrol, the dogs found an IED in front of us. I was number three in line, I was very, very lucky to survive. They also saved countless lives when I was in the Special Air Service sniffing out explosives."
But service dogs aren't just great on the front lines, he pointed out.
"Dogs like Kevin, Dazz and Driver are an asset when they are serving but they are even more of an asset when they are retired," McNab wrote in his petition. "We owe them every chance possible to be housed and not killed."
Two hero war dogs have been rescued from death row in victory for The Sun https://t.co/0zbnIKMvop pic.twitter.com/OKtIueSzS9
— The Sun (@TheSun) December 5, 2017
The petition quickly attracted nearly 375,000 signatures. It also attracted the attention of U.K. Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson who gave the K-9 heroes a reprieve.
“When you hear the work they do in fields of conflict, you can’t help feel the upmost admiration — not just for them, but their handlers,” Williamson said on making the announcement.
"We’re going to ensure they have a golden future. We’ll do everything we can to look after animals that form such an important part of the military family."