Posted 42d ago
By Matt Roper and Rebecca Astill
As if Pen Farthing has not given us dog lovers enough to be in awe of over the past couple of days, it should be known he helped to reunite the dog of a killed soldier with his parents.
A 20-year-old was killed by the Taliban in 2011 but Pen Farthing managed to return his dog, Peg, to his parents.
Conrad’s father, Tony, rang Pen Farthing at the Nowzad’s animal shelter in Kabul in February 2011.
The army hero’s father said: “I understand you bring soldiers’ dogs home.”
He wanted to know if Farthing was capable of bringing his son’s dog home, who had kept his son company in the Helmand Province while serving.
Farthing, a former Royal Marine, said the area was one of the most dangerous places in the world and asked Tony if Conrad could help get Peg to Kabul.
Tony replied: “No, he died there two weeks ago.”
From that point, Pen Farthing decided to do everything in his power to reunite Tony Lewis and his wife Sandi with their late son’s dog.
Within days he had put in motion a complex operation to have Peg flown out of the battle zone in a Chinook helicopter to Camp Bastion, then put in a Humvee and driven to Kabul.
A flight from Kabul to London via Dubai in June 2011 and six months of quarantine later, Peg was reunited with Tony and Sandi - a tangible reminder of their dog loving son.
Peg, short for Pegasus, was Conrad’s buddy for a short few months while he was positioned in Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment in 2010.
He wrote about Peg in a letter home in October 2010, which was the first time Tony and Sandi became aware of her existence.
Speaking to The Mirror , Tony said: “Conrad was a dog lover. When he first wrote back he said he’d got a dog, and that he’d taught her to sit and give him a paw. Conrad was a machine gunner and had took it upon himself to lead every patrol, and Peg came with him on every one.
“He said she was useful because she would spot stuff and warn them.
“She was also that non-human he could talk to about the things he had seen that day and what he was feeling, that bit of hope and comfort. When he came home for Christmas he brought pictures of Peg.”
Conrad also made his family aware of Pen Farthing and the Nowzad charity.
He said: ‘There’s a bloke who brings back soldiers’ dogs after they come home, that’s your job to sort.’”
Tony and Sandi never expected their son not to come home.
Tony said: “I remember him telling me what he was doing, leading the patrols and taking out snipers. I said to him, ‘You’ve got to be really careful, your luck’s going to run out.' He told us, ‘If anything happens to me just get on with it.’
“He was killed five weeks later.”
Conrad was killed by the Taliban on February 9, 2011 on a foot patrol in Nad-e Ali in the Helmand Province.
He died alongside another 20-year-old, Lewis Hendry, on a mission to find an enemy snipers’ nest.
Tony said: “I think my wife summed it up very well, she said we can’t look after Conrad any more but we can look after his dog. Someone gave me Pen’s number. He gave us his unconditional and instantaneous support.”
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