A retired Military Working Dog (MWD), who suffered life-changing injuries while supporting British Forces fighting Al Qaeda, has been awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal for his bravery and devotion to duty.
During the 2019 operation, four-year-old Belgian Shepherd Malinois, Kuno, and his handler were deployed in support of specialist UK and host nation forces on a compound raid against a well-armed and aggressive enemy when they came under attack.
Pinned down by grenade and machine-gun fire from an insurgent, the assault force was unable to move without taking casualties. Without hesitation, Kuno charged through a hail of gunfire to tackle the gunman, breaking the deadlock and changing the course of the attack, allowing the mission to be completed successfully.
During the assault Kuno was wounded by bullets in both back legs. He was given life-saving treatment by his handler and by medics in the back of a helicopter.
His injuries were so severe he required several operations before he was stable enough to fly back to the UK. Sadly, part of one of Kuno’s rear paws had to be amputated to prevent life-threatening infection.
But now he is thriving in retirement after becoming the first UK MWD to be fitted with custom-made prosthetic limbs.
Kuno was formally presented with his PDSA Dickin Medal – the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross – via a virtual presentation today (24 November 2020) by the vet charity’s Director General. Kuno has become the 72nd recipient of the prestigious honour; joining a line-up of brave dogs, horses, pigeons and a cat.
Discussing the award, PDSA Director General, Jan McLoughlin, said: “Kuno is a true hero. His actions that day undoubtedly changed the course of a vital mission, saving multiple lives in the process. And despite serious, life changing injuries, he performed his duty without faltering.
“For this bravery and devotion to duty, we are honoured to welcome him as the latest recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal.”
PDSA Dickin Medal
The world-renowned PDSA Dickin Medal was introduced by PDSA’s founder, Maria Dickin CBE, in 1943. She believed that, if animals were recognised for their heroic actions, it would help to raise their status in society, ensuring they were better treated.
The Medal is the highest award any animal can achieve while serving in military conflict. Kuno has become the 72nd recipient; recipients include 35 dogs, 32 World War II messenger pigeons, four horses and one cat. For more information about the previous recipients visit www.pdsa.org.uk/Medals
PDSA is the UK’s veterinary charity, providing free and reduced-cost veterinary care to the pets of people in need. PDSA believes no pet should suffer due to their owner’s financial hardship, and as the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic impact the country’s economy the charity predicts more people than ever before will turn to them for help. To find out more about how you can help PDSA care for these vulnerable pets visit www.pdsa.org.uk.
Meet Kuno and watch him receive his PDSA Dickin Medal here: www.pdsa.org.uk/kuno