A dog that saved the lives of dozens of British soldiers has been awarded Britain’s highest military decoration – the equivalent of the Victoria Cross for animals.
The Belgian shepherd Malinois named Kuno worked together with special forces in Afghanistan. The dog helped the British military in every way during the operation. And once he saved their lives. For this brave act, the hero dog received an award from the government of the country, which is the equivalent of the Victoria Cross – the highest military award of Great Britain, which is awarded for heroism shown in a combat situation.
The dog was next to a special forces unit in Afghanistan when soldiers were attacked by extremists in 2019. The British military was surrounded and could not advance. Kuno, who is trained to disable enemy soldiers, rushed through a barrage of bullets to knock the shooter to the ground. This allowed his squad to successfully complete the mission.
Unfortunately, the heroic dog was wounded in the hind legs, and his mentor and medics had to help him in a helicopter when they flew back to the base. The dog suffered a lot of injuries, so he was taken to the UK on a Royal Air Force plane for treatment. Veterinarians managed to save the dog’s life. But they had to amputate his hind leg to prevent the spread of infection.
After a course of treatment, Kuno became the first military dog in the UK to be equipped with custom-made prosthetics to replace a missing paw and help an injured leg.
British Defense Minister Ben Wallace said that Kuno changed the course of the entire mission and saved the lives of the British military. “Kuno’s story reminds us not only of the selfless service of our soldiers and military dogs, but also of the great care that the British Armed forces provide to the animals that serve with them,” he said.
Kuno received the Deakin Medal, the highest award for animal combat prowess, from the veterinary charity PDSA. He will be the 72nd recipient of this medal. And the previous awards went to 34 dogs, 32 messenger pigeons from the Second World War, four horses and one cat.