Kuno, the Belgian Malinois, is a true hero that has won the award for the best animal. Despite having a prosthetic leg and surviving gunshots, Kuno continues to save others and proves that dogs are our loyal companions.
The PDSA awarded the Deakin Medal, the most prestigious recognition bestowed upon animals in the British Army, to a former working dog of the said armed forces. The canine suffered injuries that permanently altered its life while aiding the British Special Forces in their efforts against al-Qaeda. This achievement is equivalent to receiving the Victoria Cross, which is the British counterpart of the Medal of Honor, if translated into human terms.
A military dog, aged four, was trained to help British troops during a mission to attack an al-Qaeda base. However, the commandos were met with resistance as an insurgent, who was concealed in the compound and using night vision goggles, blocked them with a barrage of grenade and machine-gun fire.
Following a fatal impasse between British and Afghan forces, the job of resolving the conflict was handed over to Kuno. The dog was released by his trainer and instantly sprang into action, breaking through the compound’s entrance to launch an offensive against the insurgents. Kuno’s bravery paid off when he neutralized a terrorist and uncovered a concealed bomb. Though taken aback by the unexpected arrival of the dog, a gunman fired blindly into the darkness and injured Kuno’s hind legs. Nevertheless, Kuno charged ahead, biting the shooter’s arm and pinning him down.
Despite having a severe injury on his paw, the dog still relentlessly went after al-Qaeda fighters until the assault team arrived and secured the area. Afterwards, he finally took a break. “He definitely made a significant impact on the mission and saved numerous lives. Despite his injury, he remained dedicated to his duties,” stated McGraw and Lin in a press statement.
“We are delighted to honor his courage and commitment by presenting him with the esteemed PDSA Dickin Award,” is an expression of appreciation for Kuno. Regrettably, during a mission against al-Qaeda militants, Kuno sustained severe gunshot wounds to his hind leg. One of the bullets came exceedingly close to damaging a vital artery. Following immediate treatment by paramedics, he underwent multiple surgeries to stabilize his condition and make it possible to bring him back to the UK. Unfortunately, in order to prevent a life-threatening infection, one of Kuno’s hind legs had to be amputated.
Incredibly, the courageous canine has fully recuperated from his surgery and has become the initial UK military working dog to receive a custom-made prosthetic. As stated by PDSA, he is currently in good health and high spirits. British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace expressed his delight about Kuno receiving the PDSA Dickin Medal and praised his exceptional training, unyielding courage, and responsibility to safeguard lives on that fateful day.
I take immense pride in the vital contribution of military working dogs to our safety, both at home and abroad. Kuno’s story is a testament to the unwavering dedication and bravery of these remarkable animals. Kuno was awarded the Dickin Medal during World War II, marking a significant milestone as the 72nd recipient since its inception in December 1943.