INSPIRATIONAL ANIMAL OF THE YEAR
Dog brought to Britain from Afghanistan provides lasting comfort to the parents of the soldier who befriended him on the frontline.
Conrad Lewis was deployed to Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment in October 2010. In a letter home to his parents Tony and Sandi, the young soldier told them about a stray dog he had adopted, named Pegasus – or Peg for short.
Tony recalls: “When he first wrote back he said he’d got a dog, and that he’d taught her to sit and give him a paw. She was that non-human he could talk to about the things he had seen and what he was feeling, that bit of hope and comfort. When he came home for Christmas he brought pictures of Peg.”
Conrad, 22, was killed by a Taliban sniper on February 9, 2011 while on foot patrol in Nad-e Ali.
Still in the depths of grief, Conrad’s parents knew they had to respect their son’s wishes and look after Peg. Tony says: “It was very important for us to bring his dog back. My wife said we can’t look after Conrad any more but we can look after his dog.”
The couple contacted former Royal Marine Pen Farthing, whose Nowzad charity looks after stray animals in Afghanistan, and has also reunited more than 1,600 dogs and cats with soldiers who came to rely on them on the frontline.
Peg arrived in the UK in June 2011 and lives with Tony and Sandi in Warwickshire. Tony says: “She’s been a great source of comfort and joy, knowing that Conrad loved her and talked with her. She’s a great companion and makes us smile.”