A Belgian Malinois named Kuno is more than man’s best friend. He’s a life-saver.
And for his valor, he’s been awarded the Dickin Medal, the highest award any animal can receive within the British military – from the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA). Bravery in battle
Now retired, Kuno served as a British Army Working Dog with the special forces fighting Al Qaeda.
Jan McLoughlin from the PDSA veterinary charity called Kuno “a true hero” for his bravery during a 2019 operation in Afghanistan.
Kuno was just 4-years-old when he deployed to support British troops attacking an Al-Qaeda compound.
The unit came under attack as grenades rained down on the soldiers and machine-gun fire filled the air. There was one insurgent hidden in the compound with night vision goggles fighting back.
British and Afghan troops had already suffered casualties and decided to deploy Kuno to seek out the final insurgent (he had already incapacitated one AND discovered a stash of hidden explosives) in the raid.
Kuno’s handler let him go and the brave dog went after his target, sprinting through the door without a hint of fear.
Injured in the line of duty
Kuno surprised the insurgent who fired wildly into the darkness.
Unfortunately, bullets struck the dog’s hind legs. And yet he was STILL able to push himself forward to wrestle his target to the ground. He continued to attack – in order to give the strike team time to enter the room – despite his leg wounds.
Because of Kuno, soldiers were able to enter and clear the compound.
“His actions that day undoubtedly changed the course of a vital mission, saving multiple lives in the process. And despite serious, life-changing injuries, he performed his duty without faltering,” McLoughlin added in a press release about Kuno’s award. “For this bravery and devotion to duty, we are honored to welcome him as the latest recipient of the PDSA Dickin.”
A time for healing
Kuno’s back legs were seriously damaged, and a bullet narrowly missed a main artery. But he did survive.
As he was spirited away in the back of a helicopter, medics worked to save Kuno’s life. But he would need many surgeries after that before he could even return to the UK, including the amputation of one of his rear paws to prevent a fatal infection.
After everything Kuno did, it’s affirming to see him paid back with heroic medical care!
And we’re pleased to say that the brave and beautiful dog has made a full recovery, despite life-changing injuries. And he appears to have been surrounded by love and affection throughout his ordeal.
After his amputation, Kuno became the first U.K. Military Working Dog to be fitted with custom-made prosthetic limbs.
Recognizing Kuno’s valor
British defense secretary Ben Wallace said in a press release:
“It is a testament to his training, tireless bravery, and devotion to duty which undoubtedly saved lives that day…I am very proud of the role our military working dogs play on operations at home and abroad. Kuno’s story reminds us of the lengths these animals go to keep us all safe.”
Kuno is the 72nd recipient of the Dickin Medal since it was created in December 1943. Its recipients include 35 dogs, 32 WW2 messenger pigeons, four horses, and even a cat.
The dog is now retired and living the good life in the UK.
Please SHARE this with your friends and family.