Belgian Malinois receives highest medal for dog bravery

Dickin Medal Recipient

Military Dog Receives Prestigious Medal For Bravery, Eats It Instead

The pooch, a Belgian Malinois, was dubbed a "guardian angel" by United Kingdom troops after he helped protect a Special Boat Service squad during an assault on an enemy stronghold in 2012. A dog, Bob, had been honoured earlier that year, giving an indication of the stranglehold that canines would soon take on the award - since it was revived in 2000, the only non-dogs to win were two horses from 17 honours.

What a good dog he is. 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.

He was awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal on Friday - which is the animal equivalent of the UK's Victoria Cross medal for bravery.

A British special forces dog was awarded the highest military medal an animal can receive for saving the lives of Special Boat Service troops during their 2012 operation to remove armed Taliban forces from a multi-storey building in Afghanistan.

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

Mali was left severely injured by shrapnel from grenade blasts during the assault, with wounds to his chest, ears and stomach, but he played a role in alerting British soldiers to the positions of jihadis and running in front of live fire as the British and Afghan teams worked their way through the building's six stories.

Mali Dickin Medal Recipient On Operation In Afghanistan
Mali On Operation In Afghanistan

The charity said Mali was twice sent through direct fire to conduct searches for explosives.

Despite these injuries, Mali continued with the mission, which ended successfully for United Kingdom forces.

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

He now works for the Royal Army Vetinary Corps.

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

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

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