Friday, 24 November 2017

Hero hound has his day!

November is the month for remembrance, and giving thanks to all those who have served our country – including our four-legged friends! So, it's fitting that today we bring you this story: Mali, receiver of the Dickin medal!

Dogs who help rescue others in any capacity are truly wonderful – just see our post on Frida from the beginning of last month – but Mali is a member of the armed forces who has gone above and beyond in the line of duty. Awarded the Dickin medal for saving the lives of Special Boat Service troops during an military operation in 2012, the accolade has been likened to the Victoria Cross – which is the UK's highest hour for gallantry – for stature. The PDSA has described Mali, a Belgian Malinois, as an "incredibly worthy recipient" of the medal, as it recognises the vital role he played within the force that day.

Photo: PDSA
The story is incredible. Mali was sent through direct fire twice – with two explosions causing injuries to his chest and legs – and was hoisted up outside of the multi-storey building several times to gain entry, in order to assist the British troops in securing this enemy stronghold. A third explosion detonated close to his face, causing him to lose one of his front teeth and suffer damage to his ear. But this didn't stop Mali, as he pushed forward, and was able to determine the locations of enemy fighters, giving the British forces time to react in close-quarters combat.

Lt Col Abby DuBaree, from the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC) to which Mali is attached, says the medal, which was first introduced by PDSA founder Maria Dickin in 1943, is "extremely well deserved" in Mali's case, and that stories similar to his are "sobering to read and help to demonstrate the key role that animals continue to play in our armed forces."

"As long as we've had soldiers, we've had animals, and I think we always will have them," says Brig Roly Walker, colonel commandant of the RAVC. He goes on to add that the award was in recognition of the unique bond that soldiers have with service animals. And it's true: all bonds with animals should be recognised and celebrated, whether they are domestic or service, each animal's bond with a human is something to be cherished. And treating animals as our equals is something close to our hearts here at Hubble and Hattie, so you can see why this story is such a hit with us!

"Mali has displayed a truly awesome ability and determination to seek out explosives and insurgents during a key operation," says PDSA director general Jan McLouhlin. "To achieve this while exposed to close combat and such intense enemy attack, makes him an incredibly worthy recipient of the PDSA Dickin medal."

If ever there was a dog worthy of the Dickin medal, I can think of none more deserving than Mali! Maybe this post has whetted your appetite for more heroic pet stores, if so, make sure you check out our book Partners – everyday working dogs being heroes every day, by Nan Walton. 

No comments:

Post a Comment