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Dogs in tribute to bomb-sniffing spaniel

March 11, 2011 at 1:23 AM

WOOTTON BASSETT, England, March 11 (UPI) -- Dogs -- family pets as well as police K-9 dogs -- were brought to an English town Thursday to honor a British Army dog handler and his Springer spaniel.

The spaniel, Theo, had a fatal seizure last week, 3 hours after Lance Cpl. Liam Tasker of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps was killed in Afghanistan. Tasker's body and Theo's ashes were flown together to RAF Lyneham near Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The soldier's parents, Ian Tasker and Jane Duffy, his girlfriend, two sisters and his stepfather came to Wootton Bassett for the repatriation ceremony.

Human mourners were silent as the cortege moved by but the dogs barked. About a dozen police and Prison Service dog handlers joined pet owners.

Ian Tasker told ITV that Theo might have had a seizure because his son was not available to comfort him when he returned to his kennel at Camp Bastion in Helmand province.

"I would like to believe he died of a broken heart to be with Liam," Duffy said.

Tasker, from Fife in Scotland, and Theo had become known for their prowess in discovering hidden explosives, sniffing out 14 arms caches and concealed bombs in a few months.

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