Soldier's dog with family after months in quarantine
- 1 December 2011
- From the section Front Page
The family of a soldier shot dead in Afghanistan have been reunited with a stray dog he cared for.
Peg has spent the last six months in quarantine after being looked after by Pte Conrad Lewis, of 4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment.
The 22-year-old from Warwickshire was shot along with a colleague patrolling an area in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province earlier this year.
Conrad Lewis' dad thinks the photo below sums his son up.
Tony Lewis said: "He's got Peg the dog under one arm, his grenade launching rifle in the other and a big smile on his face. He was an Alpha male."
The 22-year old was serving in Helmand Province, described as the most dangerous place on earth.
On the day he arrived, he made a new friend, a mongrel which started following him around.
Normally soldiers there are supposed to shoot strays in case they have any diseases but Conrad Lewis fell in love with the dog.
He named her Pegasus, after the winged horse on his regiment's emblem, or Peg for short.
"They very quickly adopted each other," said Tony Lewis. "They would go on patrol together."
Soon, the pair were inseparable. Peg refused to leave his side, even during gun battles with the Taliban.
Conrad Lewis used to write home to his family about the dog.
When he was on leave last Christmas, he told them he wanted to bring her back with him when he left Afghanistan.
But Conrad Lewis was shot dead in February and his family decided to try to bring Peg home.
"It became our job," said Tony Lewis. "Peg is our link to his time in Afghanistan. He was looking after her, so we think it fulfils a commitment to him."
They got an animal charity called Nowzad to help but were warned the odds were against them.
The first job was to smuggle Peg to the Afghan capital, Kabul. Then vets had to clear her to come to the UK.
That was back in June and since then, Peg has been in quarantine with the whole process costing about £4,000.
But now, she's finally back with Conrad's family.
Tony Lewis says even on her first night, she was lying in front of the fire as if she'd lived with them all of her life.
But they are having some teething problems. Peg has to make friends with their cat.