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British Veteran Honors His Search Dog With Ashes Tattoo

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After facing the Afghanistan war together, retired British Sergeant Dave Heyhoe was heartbroken when his four-legged partner, Treo, passed away. To keep him at his side, Heyhoe got a memorial tattoo in honor of Treo, complete with the pup's ashes in the ink.

Treo was an explosives search dog before retiring in 2010 with Heyhoe; Heyhoe (46) served for 24 years. The black Labrador made a brave name for himself after detecting two explosive devices and protecting the lives of many British troops.

Treo was also awarded the Dickin Medal in recognition of his fearlessness and will to protect. He is said to be the most highly decorated dog. Among fellow soldiers, his human partner became known as the "Dog Whisperer."

Sadly, in October 2015, the Lab passed away at the age of 14 (92 in dog years!).

Heyhoe wrote a book of their story in 2012 titled, It's All About Treo: Life and War with the World's Bravest Dog. But that wasn't enough—Heyhoe took to tattoos to help cope with the devastating loss.

Heyhoe told The Daily Mail, "I couldn't be happier with [the tattoo]. I felt a sense of peace after I had it done—I could feel him there by my side where he'd always been." Heyhoe also said that in his time spent with Treo, they have "seen gunfire, death, and bomb scares."

As the two retired together, Treo became a loving pet to the Heyhoe family. "It's nice for [my family] to look at the tattoo," Heyhoe said.

The memorial tattoo features Treo's paw print; beneath that is a beautiful message that seems to tell of how Treo provided unconditional love and care for his Dad and partner. The tattoo begins, "I will lay down my life for you and expect nothing in return." It also says, "I am the first sent in and sometimes the last to leave."

See the full tattoo in the gallery following the short video.