Irish Guards calling for 'honourable' retirement for Irish wolfhound Domhnall
Soldiers in the Irish Guards regiment in the UK are calling for an 'honourable discharge' for their Irish wolfhound mascot.
Domhnall, a six-year-old dog loved by the soldiers, is too old for his ceremonial duties and should be allowed to enjoy retirement, they claim. The average lifespan of the giant breed is believed to be around seven years.
'Justice4Domhnall' graffiti has been sprayed on walls in the British Army regiment's barracks in Hounslow, London.
Soldiers claimed Domhnall had a 'dodgy hip' but an army spokeman said the dog was declared fit for work by vets.
"Domhnall has regular health checks - including two this week - to ensure he is being well looked after and fit for service," he said.
Domhnall is regularly on duty on public occasions and ceremonial events and is used to greet visiting VIPs and foreign dignitaries.
The dog was a gift to the regiment from the Irish Wolfhound Club of Ireland. The regiment has kept Irish wolfhounds as regimental mascots since 1902.
In 2014, President Michael D Higgins presented Domhnall with a ceremonial coat during his State visit to Britain in 2014.
The gift of the coat was a return gesture as the Irish Guards presented a coat to a wolfhound mascot at an Irish Army Fifth Battalion ceremony in Collins Barracks in Dublin in 1972 as a goodwill gesture.
The Irish wolfhound is a symbol of Ireland, along with the harp, the shamrock and the round tower.