Police Dog Honoured For His Bravery At The Manchester Arena Attack
Mojo was the first Police Dog (PD) on the scene after the horrific and devastating Manchester terror attack in 2017 - now the brave animal has been honoured for his selfless work by the PDSA.
The British Transport Police (BTP) PD will receive the PDSA Order of Merit, this month, for his 'devotion to duty' after the bombings on 22 May 2017.
On the day of the incident Mojo, his former handler (and now his actual owner) PC Phil Healy had returned home after finishing an early shift, but when the news came through of an explosion at the concert the pair didn't hesitate to head straight back to work.
They were the first dog team on the scene battling through the chaos in order to search for injured victims safe and clear of further explosives. They initially searched Victoria Station, then made it to the Arena and the site of the explosions.
Mojo worked through awful conditions in a bid to search for other explosives and devices among the never-ending amount of abandoned items and bags - never once straying from duty out of fear or concern for his own safety.
PC Healy said: "Mojo was working well but he was somehow different. It was as though he didn't want to be there, among the carnage that surrounded him. But despite this he worked on, clearing the area so that the Firearms Unit could move out of the area safely."
Later on, other dog teams joined the pair, and a wider search of the stadium was able to go forward - together Mojo and Phil worked until 7am the next morning. But their work wasn't even over then; on their way home the pair were called out again to follow up on reports of suspicious item in another area, which thankfully later turned out to be a false alarm.
Speaking about Mojo's award, PDSA Director General, Jan McLoughlin, said: "PD Mojo worked tirelessly through unimaginable scenes of destruction and utter chaos. His role on the night was to make others safe - members of the public along with the responding emergency services, who each had their vital part to play.
"His dedication to duty, despite clearly being distressed by what he saw, makes him a deserving recipient of the PDSA Order of Merit."
Mojo's days working for the BTP are now over after he retired in August this year. His services will always be remembered, but now he can put his paws up and enjoy his retirement living at home with Phil.
Inspector Paul Miles from British Transport Police nominated Mojo for the award.
He said: "I am so proud to see Mojo recognised by PDSA in this way. He acted in the finest traditions of policing, under circumstances that you can never fully train for. PC Healy and Mojo have made a stellar team in their time together and, as Mojo adapts to a life of retirement, it's a wonderful moment to pause and reflect on his service and actions."
Mojo is set to receive the award in a special ceremony later this month - which will also recognise the work of two Greater Manchester Fire Service dogs, Cracker and Echo - and he will be the 20th recipient of the PDSA Order of Merit.
So far it has been awarded to seven dogs and 10 horses.
PDSA's Animal Awards Programme was instituted in 1943 by the charity's founder, Maria Dickin. She believed that if animals were recognised for their heroic actions, it would help to raise their status in society, ensuring that they are better treated.
We salute you, Mojo and co!
Featured Image Credit: PDSA