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Sniffer dog, forgotten hero of 26/11, dies

Sniffer dog, forgotten hero of  26/11, dies
Max, a retired sniffer dog, who played a key role in 26/11 Mumbai attack, 2006 serial blasts as well as Zaveri Bazaar blasts, died due to illness on Friday morning. 

A less known hero of 26/11 Mumbai attack Max was a part of bomb detection dog’s squad for almost 10 years, and in June 2015 he retired from services, receiving a gold medal for his bravery during the carnage.

The 11-year-old Max was ill from last five days and was being very lethargic. On Friday morning, at around 6 am he took his last breath. He was cremated late in the evening and his body was wrapped in the national flag. Apart from his handler—Gawde—from bomb detection police department, no policeman from Mumbai Police took part in Max’s funeral ceremony.

Max along with three other canines- Caesar, Tiger and Sultan were the heroes behind saving many lives in Mumbai.  All four came to their handlers when they were just two-month-old puppies. 

“If these dogs, who are actually the soldiers, had not detected the RDX, more people could have died,” said Fizzah Shah, the woman who had adopted these four dogs after their retirement last year.

During 26/11, Max had recovered eight kg of RDX, 29detonators, ball bearings and other shrapnel from both sides of Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. When the sounds of gunfire and explosions were heard, Max stopped near a tree after sniffing something. The team scanned the area, where Max was pointing at a bag full of RDX; and four detonators were recovered. Max also found around 25 grenades in the hotel reception area.

After their retirement in 2015, all four of them have been staying at Shah’s farmhouse in Virar, Mumbai, along with 400 other abandoned animals including 40 dogs. They have small cubicles of their own, a shed under which they can rest and a thatched shelter too. 

“After Max passed away, his companions—Caesar, Tiger and Sultan became restless. Even they are old and at times they also fell ill because in the past 10 years they have worked hard to detect RDX and other bomb materials that have affected their health,” Shah told Millennium Post.

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