05 March 2015 Wonder Dog honoured in Brisbane

MD Peter Howman,  Sarbi and handler David SimpsonA very special war hero, with a story that will be passed down through the ages, was honoured this week at Warner Lakes The Reserve.

Sarbi the former Australian Special Forces explosives detection dog was given her very own park in the Brisbane community, complete with life-size bronze statue.

‘It is our job to design spaces where everyone can feel happy, safe and included. This includes pets!’ DHA Managing Director Peter Howman said.

‘Pets are a very important part of Defence families, so it is really important that we cater for them in our developments.

Sarbi, who is affectionately known as “the wonder dog”, became famous after she went missing in Afghanistan during a fiery ambush in 2008. It was the same action for which SAS Trooper Mark Donaldson received a Victoria Cross, the first awarded in Australia in 40 years.

She was found after 14 months and awarded an RSPCA Purple Cross—the highest honour for animals who have risked their own safety to save a person from injury or death.

Mr Howman said that DHA has wanted to honour Sarbi in one of its developments since she first hit the headlines in 2008.

‘It’s such an honour to meet Sarbi,’ Mr Howman said. ‘We have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to her. No one loves a good park more than a dog, so why not name it after Australia’s own “wonder dog”!’

Pooches, puppies and people, in their thousands, attended the party in the park. The highlight of the day being the unveiling of Sarbi’s life-size bronze sculpture created by Brisbane artist Kathy McLay.

‘Sculpture is very like jewellery. It is important to me that every piece means something so I hope I can do everyone proud with Sarbi because her story is so special,’ she said.

Sarbi is now retired and lives in Brisbane with her handler David Simpson.