Sarbi's story is one of survival…
For nearly 14 months, Sarbi an Australian Special Forces Explosive Detection dog, was separated from her handler in Afghanistan.
The black Labrador-cross had been declared missing in action following a battle with the Taliban that left nine soldiers wounded, including her handler. A rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) had exploded close to Sarbi, breaking the clip that attached her lead to her handler's body armour. It was the same battle where Trooper Mark Donaldson earned his Victoria Cross.
A US soldier knew his Australian mates were missing Sarbi, and spotted her wandering with an Afghan man near an isolated patrol base in north-eastern Oruzgan Province. Sarbi was flown to Tarin Kowt to be reunited with her Australian Special Forces trainer.
The Australian trainer knew instantly it was Sarbi.
"I nudged a tennis ball to her with my foot and she took it straight away. It's a game we used to play over and over during her training," the trainer said.
At the time of her disappearance Sarbi was coming to the end of her second tour of duty in Afghanistan, having previously deployed to Oruzgan in 2007.Sarbi had also deployed with the Incident Response Regiment during the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006. We will never know what Sarbi saw during her time alone in the desert, but what we do know is that if she could talk, that would be one great story.
A recent check of Sarbi’s regimental record, revealed that Sarbi’s name has been previously incorrectly spelt in Defence public reporting and the record is now corrected to show the spelling as Sarbi, not ‘Sabi'.