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Life-saving rescue dog crowned Animal of the Year at awards

Ten-year-old springer spaniel Diesel works with the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service.

Good boy: Diesel and Gary Carroll. Scottish Fire & Rescue Service

A search and rescue dog in the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service has been named Animal of the Year at a London awards ceremony.

Ten-year-old springer spaniel Diesel, based in Aberdeenshire, was given the accolade at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) awards on Tuesday.

Along with commander Gary Carroll, the pair have been deployed as part of the UK International Search and Rescue Team (ISAR) to disaster zones around the world.

During their time together, they have helped in the aftermath of earthquakes in 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand, and in Nepal in 2015.

Top dog: The event was hosted by TV personality Bill Oddie and Lord Desai. Scottish Fire & Rescue Service

Mr Carroll said it was “a real honour” to attend the event, with Diesel recognised for his contribution to both the fire service and ISAR.

He said: “It is a proud moment for me as I’ve had Diesel since he was a puppy and seen him progress into a fully qualified search dog.

“We have a unique bond where he looks after me and I look after him.

“But I couldn’t do it all without the help of my wife Marianne and my two sons, who have helped training Diesel and have always been there to support us.

“It’s fantastic to be here to accept this award, and on behalf of both of us I would like to pass on my thanks to whomever nominated or voted for Diesel.

“This award is not just for us but for all of the ISAR search dog teams across the UK.”

The annual event was held at the House of Lords and was hosted by TV personality Bill Oddie and Lord Desai.

James Sawyer, UK director at the IFAW, said: “We were delighted to be able to honour Diesel with our 2019 Animal of the Year award.

“He clearly plays a vital role in challenging rescue work both at home and overseas and his and Gary’s partnership is a great example of the amazing bond between humans and animals.”

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