Awarded for the first time during the Second World War, the Dickin Medal is the most prestigious military honor offered to animal heroes, soldiers of the British armed forces. Dogs capable of distinguishing themselves in battle with courage and sacrifice. The latest dog to receive such a reward will be a Belgian shepherd dog who last year had a difficult mission in Afghanistan. His name is Kuno, he is just four years old and was awarded in November during a virtual ceremony. The decision was made official by the association that presides over the award: the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals.
34 dogs, 32 pigeons, 4 horses and even a cat: there are 71 animals that Kuno will keep company. In a night in May 2019, when his contribution was decisive for the success of a blitz organized by Her Majesty’s special maritime forces (the Special Boat Service) against a militia compound . An operation of the utmost delicacy that seemed to have taken place in the worst possible way, between enemy fire. But despite the danger, Kuno was able to put to good use what he had been trained to do: not only track down weapons and explosives, but also engage on enemies. Jumping on a guard at a strategic entrance, he allowed his fellow soldiers to advance. However, the price paid for his audacity was extremely high. Promptly cured, he survived and it is a miracle. However, he had to undergo the amputation of part of his left limb before being able to return home, undertake a long rehabilitation process and become the first British military dog to use two custom-made prostheses. Today retired, he is certainly flattered by the news of the medal.
“Without Kuno – said Defense Secretary Ben Wallace – the outcome of that operation could have been very different, and it is clear that he saved the lives of British personnel. His story leads us to remember not only the passionate service of our soldiers and our military dogs, but also the great care that the United Kingdom armed forces provide to the animals that work alongside them. ”
Words of great esteem also from Jan McLoughlin, general manager of People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals: “Kuno’s heroic actions have undoubtedly changed the course of the mission and saved lives – he said -. He faced the enemy without fear or hesitation, without ever departing from duty despite the fact that he was seriously injured. For his courage and devotion to him he is a deserving recipient of the Dickin Medal and we look forward to officially presenting his award by the end of the year. ”