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Hero Dog Gets 'Animal Victoria Cross' For Service In Afghanistan

Hero Dog Gets 'Animal Victoria Cross' For Service In Afghanistan

Mali, an eight-year-old Belgian Malinois carried on sniffing for Taliban insurgents and explosives under fire even after being injured by grenades. He is the only living dog to be awarded the award in seven years.

Dogs. Man's best friend. When they're not bringing you your slippers, or chewing letters from the bank before they've even dropped onto your doormat, they're protecting the lives of troops on top-secret missions in Afghanistan.

Yep, you heard, and now one brave doggo is being given the highest honour a dog can receive for his work in the line of duty.

Mali, an eight-year-old Belgian Malinois, has been awarded the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross for sniffing out explosives and Taliban insurgents with the Special Boat Service.

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Credit: Shaun Fellows / Shine Pix Ltd / PDSA

The mission in 2012 took place in a hail of gunfire and saw the brave canine injured in three grenade blasts.

Her handler, whose identity has been protected for security reasons, has also been awarded a medal for his gallantry.

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The PDSA Dickin award is the highest animal award for military service and Mali is the only living dog to receive it for seven years.

A citation said: "Mali displayed outstanding courage in the face of fire and there is no doubt that his actions throughout the operation were pivotal in the success of breaking an enemy stronghold, helping to save multiple lives and prevent further injury."

"He also indicated the presence of insurgents numerous times, giving the assault force vital milliseconds to engage the enemy in close quarter combat"

"Despite his injuries, Mali continued his duties and pushed forward, remaining close to his handler."

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"The way he conducted himself when it mattered most enabled my colleagues to achieve success in close combat."

Credit: Shaun Fellows / Shine Pix Ltd / PDSA

The award is given by the PDSA (People's Dispensary for Sick Animals) and it's Director General Jan McLoughlin, said: "Mali has displayed a truly awesome ability and determination to seek out explosives and insurgents during a key operation.

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"To achieve this while exposed to close combat and such intense enemy attack makes him an incredibly worthy recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal."

Luckily for Mali, who was injured in his chest and legs, and lost a tooth and an ear during combat, his fighting days are now behind him.

He now works for the Royal Army Vetinary Corps.

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Mali is the 69th recipient of the prestigious award that has been given to 32 pigeons, 32 dogs, 4 horses, and, bizarrely, a cat.

Brigadier Roly Walker said: "As long as we've had soldiers, we've had animals; and I think we always will have them."

"Today's award of a PDSA Dickin Medal to Mali recognises this unique bond."

Featured Image Credit: Shaun Fellows / Shine Pix Ltd / PDSA

Topics: uk news, afghanistan

James Dawson

James Dawson is a Journalist at LADbible. He has contributed articles to LADbible’s ‘Knowing Me, Knowing EU’ series on the EU referendum, the 'Electoral Dysfunction' series on the 2017 general election, the ‘U OK M8?’ series tackling mental health amongst young men, and for its ‘Climate Change’ initiative in partnership with National Geographic.