Thursday, December 1, 2011

A soldier's best friend: Family of British para killed by sniper in Afghanistan welcome home the stray dog who never left his side


Man's best friend: Conrad Lewis on patrol in Qudrat, Afghanistan with his beloved dog Peg. He fed the dog his rations and she never left his side, even accompanying him during fierce fire fights against Taliban insurgents

Before his death Conrad adopted the dog and nicknamed her Peg - short for Pegasus - in honour of the Para's winged horse emblem.

A grieving family fulfilled their soldier son's final wish of rescuing the dog he befriended in Afghanistan just months before he was killed.

The parents of paratrooper Conrad Lewis wept with joy as they greeted their son's best friend Peg who bounded up to them after completing six months in quarantine.

Conrad was killed by a Taliban sniper in Helmand Province on February 9 this year just two months before he was due home.

Home: Tony and Sandi Lewis from Warwickshire with Peg who they say has made herself right at home since she left quarantine. She went on her first British walk this week

He fed the dog his rations and she never left his side, even accompanying him during fierce fire fights against Taliban insurgents.

Conrad wanted to keep Peg as a pet after his tour of duty but was killed weeks before he was due to fly home.

Yesterday Conrad's parents Tony and Sandi took Peg out for her first walk on British soil at their home in Claverdon, Warwickshire.

A day earlier the family, and sister Siobhan, 17, collected Peg from the Bayton Lodge International Quarantine Kennels in nearby Bulkington.

Mr Lewis, 49, said: 'So many people have worked so hard to bring Peg back from Afghanistan, we are extremely grateful to them.

Peg with a painting of Conrad who adopted her while he was serving in Afghanistan. He was killed by a sniper

'We don't know what the coming weeks and months will bring but we are looking forward to it.

'The most important thing is that Peg is home in time for Christmas.

'Peg has slipped in right at home. It feels like she has been with us for 20 years.

'We have a large picture of Conrad resting against the wall and Peg walked over to it and seemed to bow her head. It was very touching.'

Walkies: Tony and Sandi Lewis take Peg for her first walk. She has joined the family's nine-year-old British Bulldog Fergie, named after Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson

He met Peg when he was posted with A Company, 3 Para, to Checkpoint Qudrat in Helmand Province in October last year.

In one of his first letters home Conrad told his family about Peg and described how she would go out on patrol with the unit and sleep among the soldiers.

When Conrad returned home for leave at Christmas he told his family he wanted to bring her home at the end of his tour.

source: dailymail

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