Bodyguard and mate for Kiwi soldiers

Last updated 08:55 06/05/2008
NZ Defence Force
AFGHAN HOUND: Gunner, with Major Syd Dewes, has become a favourite with Kiwi troops at a patrol base in Afghanistan. The two-year-old sleeps on snow.
New Zealand Defence Force
OUR BUDDY: KT1 dog Gunner, with Major Syd Dewes.

Relevant offers

CuteStuff

New Plymouth crafter Tashi Sprite is living the fairy tale life High school hounds, like Mocha the spug, help students steady exam-time nerves Dog elected as mayor for Cormorant, Minnesota, for third term 'Sweetest' pygmy hippo mum Petre dies at Melbourne Zoo Whanganui boy turns to police after losing ball over fence Cat cafe brings a feline flavour to Wellington On a Plate Money-motivated breeders, health issues - be careful when buying into breed trends Instagram's most adorable pet stars Lamb legs it down suburban street in Palmerston North Austrian couple Jurgen Bogner and Nathaly Eiche get married on flight

Kiwi troops in Afghanistan have been bowled over in more ways than one by a handsome dog who has become mascot, guard and pet at one of their patrol bases.

Gunner has won the hearts of soldiers operating out of Nayak, about four hours' drive west of the main Kiwi base in Bamian.

Major Syd Dewes, who returned last week after six months in Afghanistan, said Gunner was big, tough, and not for pampering.

He was nothing like the Afghan hounds that New Zealanders would recognise – there's no such thing as pedigree in Afghanistan. He is like a cross between a German shepherd and a husky.

"This dog was born for the snow and the sheer joy on his face when snow arrived – it was a sight to see." If the snow was piled he would dive into burrows made for him but most of the time he would just sleep on it regardless of the temperatures, which regularly got down to minus 30 degrees celsius, Major Dewes said.

He would use his kennel only when it rained.

Gunner was a great guard dog, who would kick up a fuss if anybody came around the base, and would snap at the ankles of strangers.

But he was also a real character. "He gets so excited to have you around that it makes going back to the base a pleasure.

"Whenever we had been away from the patrol base for a few days, upon our return he would be like a child seeing his dad return home."

Gunner was so big and heavy that the unwary would be knocked over by him.

Major Dewes said Gunner was a pup when he was given by local businessman Mohammad Amin two years ago.

Major Dewes is sending over some worm and flea tablets to make sure the new troops at the base continue to look after Gunner.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Special offers
Opinion poll

Do your pets make you feel loved?

Yes

No

I don't have a pet

Vote Result

Related story: Pets help people feel loved and secure

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content

CuteStuff photos

Send us your pet pics

Email yourpics@stuff.co.nz