Krasnodar, 28 June – Yug Times. She has saved dozens of human lives. Thankful to Yelga, mothers met their sons, wives – their husbands, and children – their fathers alive.” This is the inscription on the only monument to a service dog, Yelga the German shepherd, erected in the Kuban region next to the monument to perished police officers in Primorsko-Akhtarsk.
“I began my service together with Yelga,” Yevgeni Shestko, a police veteran, member of the Association of Dog Handler Police Veterans, who joined the police at the beginning of the 2000s, after the army. It was then that three puppies (two males and a female) were born to a dog owned by a local dog-breeder.
Yelga’s brothers looked healthy and plump, but she was emaciated after rickets, and with a broken jaw.
“I was preparing for trips to restive regions, and I needed a dog to search for and spot explosives,” Yevgeni recalls. “So I made up a test for the puppies: I threw a little squib near them. And you won’t believe it – hearing the explosion, both Yelga’s brothers set about whining, while she just raised her head and looked at me.”
Two years later, Yevgeni and Yelga left for their first assignment to Chechnya. One day, thankful to Yelga, an entire column of soldiers that were transporting humanitarian cargo, managed to evade death. On that day, Yevgeni Shestko and Yelga as usual were inspecting the road leading to their barracks.
“We walked along that way dozens of times, so I knew every single spot and every knoll on that road. Usually, Yelga would tread with confidence, not stopping anywhere – but now she suddenly sniffed at a little earth mound, and sat down,” Yevgeni recalls. As it turned out, the militants had planted a blast mine there, and it would have exploded when the humanitarian convoy were passing the place.
Yelga the German shepherd was on six assignments. In one of them, she saved the life of her master.
When the dog died, Yevgeni Shestko and his comradesin-arms raised money to erect a monument in her honour. “To our fellow soldier from her partner and the Association of Combat Veterans of Primorsko-Akhtarsk Police Office,” the plaque says.