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Fire service dogs honoured with the animal equivalent of the OBE

Among Echo's achievements include two weeks working as part of disaster response in Haiti. Photo: PDSA

Two dogs from the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service are being awarded the animal equivalent of the OBE.

The PDSA Order of Merit recognises animals that display outstanding loyalty or service. Recipients include service animals in the police force, assistance dogs or medical detection dogs.

Echo and Cracker have carried out numerous rescues and investigations. Credit: PDSA

Yellow Labradors Echo and Cracker will both receive the PDSA Order of Merit at a special ceremony in October.

Both have given a decade of service to the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service - and are being recognised for their "incredible skill"

We are honoured to recognise Echo and Cracker's devotion to duty with the PDSA Order of Merit - they are very deserving recipients. Throughout their lengthy careers they have given valuable service to both Greater Manchester and the wider world with their skill and dedication.'

– John Faulkner, PDSA

Echo was deployed to help search for survivors following a devastating earthquake in Haiti - which handler Mike described as "hell on earth".

He worked tirelessly for two weeks.

Echo and I shared a tent and I think we were both glad of each other to cuddle up to after each of those gruelling days. Those sights will stay with me forever and I will always be grateful to Echo for the strength and determination he showed while we were deployed.

– Mike Dewar, handler
Credit: PDSA

Cracker was a Fire Service Investigation Dog with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, trained to detect 20 different types of accelerants.

She helped bring more than 200 years of custodial sentences to arsonists.

She was just as driven and determined on her last day as she was when she first started. An absolute class act.

I am thrilled to see her recognised with the PDSA Order of Merit – it is a true honour.

– Mike Dewar, handler

To date, the PDSA Order of Merit has been awarded to 10 police horses and 7 dogs.