The Dickin medal, created in 1943 by Maria Dickin in Great Britain, honors animals and rewards their acts of bravery in times of war.
Normally given out to English animals, the medal was given in April 2016 to an American dog who distinguished herself in Afghanistan, Lucca. The German Shepherd is the 30th dog to have received this prestigious distinction, but the first American canine to have received it.
In March 2012, Lucca, specialized in bomb detection, helped the soldiers accompanying her to identify the presence of a bomb. Sadly, another one which was nearby, went off, and Lucca was hit with the explosion. The dog sadly lost her front leg. Her trainer, Juan Rodriguez, feared the worst and rushed to her side. He explained:
I saw her struggling to get up. I picked her up and ran to the shelter of a nearby tree line, applied a tourniquet to her injured leg and called the medics to collect us.
Juan didn't leave Lucca's side for a second. He continued:
She had saved my life on so many occasions. I had to make sure that I was there for her when she needed me.
Thankfully, Lucca survived and was able to join her first trainer in California, Sergent Christopher Willingham. He confided:
Lucca is very intelligent, loyal and had an amazing drive for work as a search dog. She is the only reason I made it home to my family and I am fortunate to have served with her.
Christopher takes good care of his beloved companion.
Lucca isn't the first foreign dog to receive the Dickin medal. Diesel, a dog who lost his life in the Paris attacks of November 2015, received it as well.Watch the video of the ceremony below:[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPZs9EVqNuA[/embed]
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