Reqs, a 12-year-old black Labrador, has been recognised for his exceptional service as Britain’s longest-serving Fire Investigation Dog.

Awarded the prestigious PDSA Medal, Reqs celebrates an illustrious 11-year career marked by unwavering dedication to duty and aiding numerous high-profile investigations.

Order of Merit

At a ceremony held at Hertfordshire’s Joint Emergency Services Academy in Stevenage on Thursday, November 23, 2023, Reqs became the 42nd recipient of the PDSA Order of Merit, marking a remarkable journey that spanned over 500 fires attended and invaluable assistance rendered to investigations during his tenure with Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Throughout his career, Reqs, alongside his handler Watch Commander Nikki Harvey, served as an invaluable asset at fire scenes across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and East Anglia. His contributions reduced investigation times and led to the discovery of crucial evidence, aiding in convicting offenders for a cumulative total of 250 years.

Jan McLoughlin, PDSA Director General, expressed pride in honouring Reqs with the PDSA Order of Merit, acknowledging his exceptional skills and lifetime dedication. McLoughlin also remarked, “Receiving the PDSA Order of Merit is a fitting tribute to his lifetime of dedication and hard work.”

Reqs: The Longest-Serving Fire Investigation Dog

Reqs commenced his career as a Fire Investigation Dog in 2012, selected from his litter for his inherent attributes and high drive ideal for a Fire Investigation Dog. Trained extensively, he joined Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, retiring in July 2023 after an illustrious tenure marked by remarkable achievements.

His primary role involved identifying ignitable liquids crucial as evidence in court, aiding in high-profile investigations related to fire, murder, and attempted murder.

Impactful Contributions and Heroic Acts

  • Leicester Incident: Reqs played a crucial role in a national fire and murder investigation involving an explosion caused by ignited petrol in a shop’s basement, resulting in five fatalities. His efforts in locating vital evidence secured lengthy custodial sentences for three individuals involved.
  • Surrey False Imprisonment: Attending an incident where a family faced false imprisonment and threats involving petrol, Reqs’ evidence led to a perpetrator receiving a significant custodial sentence of 10 years, plus three years on licence.
  • Clacton House Explosion: In an instance of a house explosion in Clacton, Reqs’ exceptional skills helped locate a trapped dog under debris, saving her after being stuck for two days.

Nikki, Reqs’ handler and owner, praised his contribution to the community, highlighting his pivotal role in fire investigations and personal support during challenging times. Nikki expressed immense pride in witnessing Reqs receive the well-deserved award, underscoring his significance as both a professional asset and a beloved family member.

PDSA’s Recognition of Animal Heroism

The PDSA Animal Awards Programme, initiated in 1943, aims to elevate animals’ status in society by acknowledging their heroic actions. The PDSA Order of Merit, established in 2014, recognises exceptional devotion and symbolic animal-human relationships.

PDSA, the UK’s leading veterinary charity, continues its legacy by providing vital veterinary care to pets across its 48 Pet Hospitals, preventing needless suffering and promoting animal welfare.

For more information about PDSA and its impactful initiatives, visit