It’s a proud day for any self-respecting good boy when he receives his PDSA Dickin Medal for bravery.
Eight-year-old Belgian, Malinois Mali, isn’t just your average, adorable dog – he’s a special forces dog – credited with having saved lives back in 2012 during a Special Boat Service mission in Afghanistan.
Despite being injured by three grenade blasts, determined Mali soldiered on; continuing to detect explosives while ensuring a safe route for his team.
Mali’s efforts in sniffing out the enemy to secure a British Military stronghold have also been recognised. His handler has since described him as being ‘a guardian angel’.
However, our furry hero wasn’t above having a nibble on his prestigious award, perhaps hoping it was a particularly shiny biscuit…
In a beautiful moment captured by BBC Radio 4′s Today programme, the military hound dropped his noble ways for one moment, chewing on his medal like the precious pupper he is inside.
The BBC tweeted the cute picture, with the following caption:
When you don’t really feel like putting on your medal for bravery #dickinmedal
Fearless Mali is one of only 68 other animals to receive the PDSA Dickin Medal, making the occasion all the more momentous.
Previous awards have gone to 32 pigeons, 31 dogs, four horses and one cat.
The last dog to be awarded a PDSA Dickin Medal was Sasha, whose heroism was recognised posthumously during 2014.
Sasha was killed in 2008 during an ambush in Afghanistan along with handler, Lance Corporal Kenneth Rowe.
Director general of veterinary charity People’s Dispensary For Sick Animals (PDSA), Jan McLoughlin, told The Telegraph:
Despite sustaining quite horrendous injuries, he absolutely stayed by his handler’s side and forged forward with them to help them carry out their duty.
It’s that gallantry and devotion to duty that we are recognising.
His handler at the time explained how Mali had already ‘shown his mettle and built a reputation among all the guys’ prior to the raid:
By the time we launched on to this operation we really felt that we had a guardian angel amongst us, nothing was going to happen to us.
The covert operation which earned Mali his medal, involved SBS operators fighting a heavily armed group of suicide-bombers at a six-storey building in Kabul.
The militant group had fortified themselves within the block, firing gunshots and grenades at neighbouring buildings.
SBS operators were fighting floor-to-floor in the building for over eight hours, with some sustaining injuries.
Several medals for gallantry were awarded to human SBS operators involved with this mission, including Mali’s handler.
Having recovered from the injuries to his belly, chest and ears, Mali has now taken a much deserved retirement from active duties.
However, he’s still dedicated to a life in the service, working as a training dog for the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC) to help get new dog handlers up to scratch…
…They couldn’t wish for a better teacher.
Hopefully this courageous boy will still have time for some quality cuddles and play.
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