Police dog Gage, who was killed during an incident in
Christchurch in July 2010. Photo by NZ Police
A police dog who saved his handler by leaping into the
path of a bullet has been posthumously recognised for his
Senior Constable Bruce Lamb's police dog Gage was fatally
shot in what should have been a routine drugs search in a
Christchurch house in July, 2010.
Gage leapt into the path of a bullet, helping to save the
life of his handler and that of Constable Mitchell Alatalo,
who was also injured during the incident in Buccleugh Street.
Gage's bravery and sacrifice was recognised today with the
posthumous award of the PDSA Gold Medal.
Mr Lamb received the award on Gage's behalf in Christchurch
from Governor-General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae.
PDSA's Director-General Jan McLoughlin said: "When I first
heard about what happened in Christchurch it struck me that,
as the horrifying events unfolded, Gage must have been just
as terrified as his human colleagues.
"Despite it ultimately costing his life, Gage continued to
perform his duty and protected his handler, an act of bravery
that epitomises the unique bond between man and dog, which
should never be underestimated.
"The PDSA Gold Medal is only awarded for the most extreme
acts of courage and dedication. Gage's actions and sacrifice
on that day undoubtedly saved the life of Senior Constable
Lamb. He is an exceptionally worthy recipient."
Mr Lamb said Gage was a strong and unique dog, and had been
by his side constantly since he joined the police.
"The thing I regret most about that day, even though it was
out of my control due to my injuries, was having to leave him
on his own after he had laid down his life for me.
"Today's presentation is not just recognising Gage's
sacrifice: it's also about honouring his life and courage.
I'll forever be indebted to him."
Acting Police Commissioner Viv Rickard said the award
acknowledged the 23 police dogs killed on duty, and the fact
they're a "real important tool" for police.
Gage joins a list of 22 animal heroes internationally who
have previously been awarded the prestigious medal for
bravery and devotion to duty.