Hero hound honoured for decade of service
Wednesday 29th August 2018 @ 15:31 by Lee Wild
Ashton News

A heroic dog who helped solve a murder mystery in Ashton has been awarded an ‘animal OBE’ for her decade’s service with the fire service.

Cracker at work

13-year-old Yellow Labrador, Cracker, spent ten years with GMFRS as a Fire Service Investigation Dog between 2007 and 2017. In October, she’ll receive the PSDA Order of Merit, for outstanding devotion and service to society.

During her 10-year service, Cracker helped the forensic team determine the cause of fires and secured convictions of suspected arsonists. She was involved in a number of high-profile cases, including a double murder and serious assaults. She attended over 650 incidents, resulting in over 200 years of custodial sentences for arson-related crimes.

On March 5 2014, Cracker attended a ‘halfway house’ property in Ashton, where a man had been murdered and his body set on fire. Cracker, dressed in a forensic dog suit to preserve any evidence, undertook a search of the property and, as a result of her efforts, the culprit received a 30-year jail sentence.

On Cracker’s actions her owner Mike Dewar, said: “Cracker – or Lucy to her friends – was a constant source of excellent skill and drive whenever she was deployed to assist with an investigation. She was just as driven and determined on her last day as she was when she first started. An absolute class act. I am thrilled to see her recognised with the PDSA Order of Merit – it is a true honour.”

Cracker’s canine colleague, Echo, is always being awarded by the PDSA. Echo, 14, is also a Yellow Labrador, and was a Search and Rescue Dog for GMFRS from 2004-2013.

John Faulkner, PDSA Principal Vet, said: “We are honoured to recognise Echo and Cracker’s devotion to duty with the PDSA Order of Merit – they are very deserving recipients. Throughout their lengthy careers they have given valuable service to both Greater Manchester and the wider world with their skill and dedication.

“Both Echo and Cracker have displayed incredible skill in their respective roles. Their stories are a true inspiration and we are all thrilled that they will be receiving the PDSA Order of Merit – known as the animal equivalent of the OBE.”

Echo and Cracker will become the 18th and 19th recipients of the PDSA Order of Merit, which, to date, has been awarded to seven dogs and ten horses. For more information about the previous recipients, visit www.pdsa.org.uk/pdsaorderofmerit.