Across the world British service men and women are risking life and limb for their country. Now, in this three-part series for ITV, we meet the four-legged friends who are working at their side.
With access to the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, the series shows at close quarters the vital work the animals do, and how they are trained and looked after by the unit’s team of veterinary surgeons, handlers and nurses dedicated to the welfare of the 1500 animals serving in the military.
Directed by Chris Malone, who made ITV’s critically acclaimed Strictly Kosher series, Animal Heroes follows progress from the parade grounds of the UK to the frontlines of Afghanistan, entering the world of these young soldiers who train and serve with the dogs that are credited with saving hundreds of British lives.
The series provides an insight into the range of dogs used and how they fit into the ‘protect and detect’ function required, from German Shepherds and Labradors to the cutest spaniels who can locate even the smallest quantities of high explosive and the savage looking Belgian Malinois who guard perimeters. All of these highly specialized dogs are trained from puppies to be critical members of the armed forces.
But it’s not just dogs that serve in the British Army. The ceremonial horses of the Household Cavalry also fall under the watchful eyes of the Veterinary Corps. We’ll find out how the RAVC keep 300 hundred horses healthy, safe and ready for duty every day of the year.
In this series the young men and women who specifically choose to serve with the RAVC talk passionately about the bonds they share with their animals, the challenges the animals face working in such hostile environments and the day to day work which aims to ensure the health and well-being of every animal at war.