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Heskey, the Garda dog who collared crazed knifeman, wins force's first bravery award

MEET Heskey -- the first ever garda dog to receive a bravery award. The eight-year-old German Shepherd has been honoured for tackling a knife-wielding youth on a Dublin bus three years ago.

The youth was attempting to rob commuters travelling on the upper deck when Heskey intervened.

The courageous pooch was presented with its award along with his handler, Garda Con O'Donovan.

"I was on the way down Dame Street when a call went out saying there was a serious incident taking place on a Dublin Bus just off Dame Street," said Garda O'Donovan.

"I was in the car with the dog and went straight for the bus. It was stopped in traffic, and as soon as I got on, I saw there was a youth who was wielding a knife at all the passengers upstairs demanding they hand over their purses and money.

"He came thundering down the stairs and I confronted him, telling him to either drop the knife or else I would set the dog on him.

"He went to the back of the bus and put his hands up straight away.

"This man meant business and the passengers were terrified but as soon as he saw the dog he backed off."

The crazed youth was later arrested and charged at Pearse Street Garda station, thanks to the partnership's efforts.

Heskey has been working with the force since he was donated to the garda dog unit as a pup eight years ago.

The popular canine has worked with both air support and water units as well as various other operations around Ireland.

Garda O'Donovan said: "The dogs used by the gardai are a major part of our everyday work. They come in helicopters with us, on drug searches, searches for missing people and a whole variety of different things.

"Heskey went through 16 weeks of intensive training in the beginning and is now one of the most valued members of the dog unit.

"He has been all over the country working on a whole variety of different investigations with us. It's seldom enough you come across a dog like this."

Garda O'Donovan has been part of the dog unit for the last 13 years of his 28-year service.