Like many heroes, Sarbi came from humble beginnings.
After starting life as a mutt, she was adopted by the Australia Defence Force to serve as an Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) with the Special Operations Engineers Regiment.
On one of her multiple tours of Afghanistan, Sarbi went missing when a joint Australian, American and Afghan vehicle convoy was ambushed by insurgents in September 2008. Sarbi’s handler, Corporal David Simpson, was injured in the attack.
Almost fourteen months later, she was found by an American soldier on patrol in the Uruzgan province and received the RSPCA Purple Cross Award and War Dog Operational Medal for her good work.
[Image: Facebook/ The official Sarbi fan page]
The War Dog Operational Medal is the highest military honour an animal can receive. The RSPCA Purple Cross Award recognises the deeds of animals that have shown outstanding service to humans, particularly if they showed exceptional courage in risking their own safety or life to save a person from injury or death.
During her time alone in Afghanistan, Sarbi showed an incredible resilience and strength,” the RSPCA said.
“And it is her courage and her unquestioning, unwavering service to her human companions that has seen her recognised.”
The Labrador-Newfoundland cross was only the second animal to won the Purple Cross. The first was Murphy, one of John Simpson Kirkpatrick’s famous Gallipoli donkeys.
Upon Sarbi’s return to Australia, she retired and reunited with Corporal Simpson, seeing out her days at home with him.
[Image: Facebook / David Simpson]
Following a short battle with brain cancer, Sarbi died at the age of 12 in March last year, surrounded by her loved ones.
Upon her death, Sarbi’s handler David Simpson wrote on her official Facebook page, “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."