Tributes have come flooding in after the death of a heroic dog that spent a decade searching for people at disaster sites.
Border Collie Byron was one of the most highly trained dogs in the world having passed the UN’s Mission Readiness test in Dresden, Germany.
The 11-year-old lived with handler Robin Furniss in Stockbridge, Hampshire, and had dealt with emergencies within the county as well as working on international disasters.
The experienced dog had been deployed to Japan to search for survivors after the tsunami hit in 2011 and had completed Urban Search and Rescue exercises in Germany and the Czech Republic.
Closer to home he had been called to collapsed buildings in London and even a gas explosion in Woolston.
Handler Furniss said:
“He was a proper dog, among the best.
“He had a phenomenal nose and was a favourite of the team.
“He was extremely hard working and even though he lived with me I think he would have been offended to have been called a pet - he was part of the family.”
On Twitter Mark Bradley said it was “sad news” while HFRS Prince’s Trust called the bombshell “heartbreaking”.
HCCaninePhotography added “he was a joy to photograph” and Hartley Wintney posted: “an amazing dog”.
Byron passed on some of his skills to another dog Robin also looks after named Shelley.
The courageous canine died last week in relation to a spinal injury he picked up in training as a puppy.
He astounded top vets at the time by making a recovery and returning to work after a programme of medication, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy.
Heroic dog helped save lives