Best Defense

Rebecca’s War Dog of the Week: RIP Sarbi, the Aussie dog who went MIA in Afghanistan and survived

Almost exactly five years ago, we shared a post about Sarbi, a bomb-sniffing dog with the Australian Special Operations Task Group who was went MIA after a Taliban ambush in 2008. (Both Sarbi and her handler, Army Warrant Officer David Simpson, were wounded in the battle.) In a stroke of luck, some 14 months later, a U.S. soldier noticed a black Labrador with a local Afghan villager and even from a distance could see she was no ordinary Afghan hound.

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By Rebecca Frankel
Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent

Almost exactly five years ago, we shared a post about Sarbi, a bomb-sniffing dog with the Australian Special Operations Task Group who was went MIA after a Taliban ambush in 2008. (Both Sarbi and her handler, Army Warrant Officer David Simpson, were wounded in the battle.) In a stroke of luck, some 14 months later, a U.S. soldier noticed a black Labrador with a local Afghan villager and even from a distance could see she was no ordinary Afghan hound. Once they brought the dog back to base, Simpson knew right away it was his partner.

Here’s a pretty great video posted by Troy Simmonds‎ to the official Sarbi Facebook fan page, a snap shot of the dog team’s tour in Afghanistan. As the caption reads: “Sarbi and Dave on the back ramp of a Chinook enroute to Khas Uruzgan and her date with destiny in the battle of 2 Sep 2008.

 

This week news reports out of Australia brought the sad news that Sarbi, age 12, had succumbed to a cancerous brain tumor. Simpson posted this note on Facebook on March 27:

It is with great sadness that we announce that Sarbi passed away peacefully this afternoon with her family by her side. Unfortunately her condition had deteriorated quickly over the last four weeks and her quality of life was no longer acceptable. Sarbi had a wonderful life serving Australia as an EDD and as a pet at home for the last five years. I remember the constant need to satisfy her hunger for retrieving, whether it was a tennis ball, a rock or a leaf. She was always so happy and would greet us at the gate with an excited howl every day before running off to find a ball. I hope that Sarbi has brought as much joy into everyone else’s life as what she has done for Kira and I. Sarbi will live on in everyone’s hearts and minds and I hope that her story of perseverance and determination will inspire you to do whatever you can to achieve your goals and dreams.

For her service, Sarbi was decorated with no fewer than three medals of honor: “the War Dog Operational Medal, the Canine Service Medal, and RSPCA Purple Cross.” There is also a dog park in Brisbane named in her honor and a dignified sculpture of her likeness guards the grounds.

The official Sarbi (Sabi) fan page/Facebook

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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