Thursday 19 September 2019

Hero dog awarded ‘animal VC’ for helping save British troops in Afghanistan

Mali is being given the prestigious Dickin Medal for assisting an assault force in securing a key enemy stronghold.

Mali the military dog.
Mali the military dog.

By Nilima Marshall

A military dog is being awarded the prestigious PDSA Dickin Medal – the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross for helping save the lives of troops in Afghanistan.

Mali will receive the honour for his heroic actions during an operation in 2012, when he assisted an assault force in securing a key enemy stronghold.

The eight-year-old Belgian Malinois, who is a military working dog, is trained to sniff out explosives and to detect insurgents.

Attached to the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC), his expertise during one particular operation was crucial in helping the host nation and UK forces achieve success.

Speaking anonymously, Mali’s previous handler explained how the dog’s bravery saved their lives.

He said: “We quickly found ourselves in a pretty dire situation. There were a lot of explosives kicking around. I was called to send Mali up for him to search out a safe route for us.

“On several occasions grenades went off very close to where we were and that is where Mali and I sustained our injuries. And to this this day, there’s bits of that dog still inside me.”

Jan McLoughlin, PDSA’s director-general, said: “Despite sustaining horrendous injuries, he absolutely stayed by his handler’s side. and forged forward with them to help them carry out their duties.”

The medal will be awarded by veterinary charity PDSA on Friday November 17 and will be attended by Mali and his current handler, Corporal Daniel Hatley.

PA Media

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