Mali, a Belgian Malinois, has received the Dickin medal, a prestigious English military award given to animals who stand out in times of war. The canine, who is specialized in detecting explosives, marked himself out as a cut above the rest in 2012 when he saved the lives of many members of the Special Boat Service, a specialist division of the British Royal Navy.
The dog was injured by three grenades during the 8 hour long operation, the first two hitting his chest and paws. The third, which exploded in his face, caused him to lose his front teeth and damaged his ears. However, the animal kept going, allowing the soldiers to survive the attack as he continued to identify explosives and enemy fighters. Corporal Daniel Hatley, who trained Mali, toldThe Guardian:
I am extremely proud of Mali. The way he conducted himself when it mattered most enabled my colleagues to achieve success in close combat.
For Leiutenant Colonel Abby Dubaree, a member of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, the medal is “extremely well deserved”. She adds that his story helps "demonstrate the key role that animals continue to play in our armed forces”.
The Dickin medal was created in 1943 by Maria Dickin, who played a pioneering role in animal welfare in the UK and founded the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) in 1917. The foundation offers free care to animals whose owners do not have the means to look after them.Mali is the 69th animal and the 32nd dog to receive the medal. Among the other decorated animal veterans are war pigeons, a cat and several horses who come from many nationalities.
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