Last Updated on April 11, 2023 by Dogs Vets
Hero Dog Given Highest Animal Honor with Prosthetic Paws
A Hero dog given highest animal honor with prosthetic paws after surviving gunfire to save others. The
Four-year-old Belgian Malinois Kuno served with British special forces in Afghanistan.
Belgian Malinois Kuno has proven beyond a doubt that dogs really are mankind’s best friends.
The retired British Army working dog suffered life-changing injuries while assisting British Special Forces in the fight against Al-Qaeda, and has now been awarded the Dickin Medal by the People’s Department for Sick Animals (PDSA) – the highest award an animal can receive within the British military ).
To put it in human perspective: It’s the animal equivalent of winning the Victoria Cross, the British version of the Medal of Honor.
“Kuno is a true hero,” Jan McLoughlin of the PDSA Veterinary Charity said in a press release about the award, which was given to Kuno for his incredible bravery during an operation in Afghanistan in 2019.
For the operation, the four-year-old military pooch was deployed to support British troops attacking a well-armed al-Qaeda compound.
Unfortunately, the assault force was pinned down by a heavy barrage of grenades and machine gun fire fired by an insurgent equipped with night vision goggles who was hiding in the compound.
With British and Afghan troops unable to move without suffering casualties, it fell to Kuno to break the deadlock.
After Kuno was released by his guide, he sprinted through the compound door to attack the insurgent. He had already incapacitated one insurgent and discovered a cache of hidden explosives during the raid.
Startled by Kuno’s sudden arrival, the gunman fired wildly into the darkness, wounding the dog in both hind legs. Kuno continued to press forward and threw himself at the gunman, biting his arm and wrestling him to the ground.
Despite his severe leg injuries, the dog continued to attack the al-Qaeda fighter until the assault force entered the courtyard and cleared the building. Only then did he finally pause.
“His actions that day undoubtedly changed the course of a vital mission, saving several lives in the process. And despite severe, life-altering injuries, he performed his duty without faltering,” McLoughlin added in the press release.
“For that courage and dedication to duty, we are honored to welcome him as the newest recipient of the PDSA Dickin.”
Unfortunately, the al-Qaeda fighter’s bullets severely damaged Kuno’s hind legs, with one narrowly missing a major artery.
Despite life-saving field treatment by medics in the back of a helicopter, Kuno required several more major surgeries before he was stable enough to return to the United Kingdom.
This included the amputation of part of one of his hind paws to prevent a life-threatening infection.
Fortunately, the hero dog has since fully recovered from his surgery and is the first British military dog to be fitted with custom prosthetics.
The PDSA describes him as “in good spirits and health.”
“I am delighted that Kuno is to receive the PDSA Dickin Medal,” British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in the press release. “It is a testament to his training, tireless courage and dedication to duty, which undoubtedly saved lives that day.”
“I am very proud of the role our military working dogs play in operations at home and abroad. Kuno’s story reminds us of the efforts these animals make to keep us all safe.”
Kuno is the 72nd recipient of the Dickin Medal since its inception in December 1943 at the height of World War II.
To date, recipients of this honour include 35 dogs, 32 World War II courier pigeons, four horses and one cat.
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