Hero Dog That Took Out Al-Qaeda Gunman Awarded Animal’s Victoria Cross Medal

by : Cameron Frew on : 24 Nov 2020 18:30
Hero Dog That Took Out Al-Qaeda Gunman Awarded Animal's Victoria Cross MedalUK Ministry of Defence 2020

A hero military dog who protected British soldiers from an Al-Qaeda insurgent has been awarded the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.

Kuno, a four-year-old Belgian Shepherd Malinois, was recently honoured with the PDSA Dickin Medal for his ‘bravery and devotion to duty’.


The incredible pooch helped soldiers break a deadlock and complete their mission during a compound raid back in 2019.

You can check out a video of Kuno being a very, very good boy below:


As troops tried to fight off grenades and machine gun fire from an enemy insurgent, Kuna charged through the incoming gunfire and tackled the gunman.


Unfortunately, Kuno was shot twice during the assault across his back legs. At the time, the canine received life-saving emergency treatment from medics and his handler in the back of a helicopter before being flown back to the UK.

He had to undergo several operations, with uncertainty at one time over whether he’d survive his injuries. However, after one of his paws was amputated to avoid a life-threatening infection, he became the country’s first military dog to be fitted with prosthetic limbs.

Hero Military Working Dog awarded animals Victoria CrossUK Ministry of Defence 2020

Today, November 24, Kuno also became the 72nd recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal at a virtual ceremony, ‘the highest award any animal can receive whilst serving in military conflict’.


Jan McLoughlin, PDSA Director General, said:

Kuno is a true hero. 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.

For this bravery and devotion to duty, we are honoured to welcome him as the latest recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal.

Hero Military Working Dog awarded animals Victoria CrossUK Ministry of Defence 2020

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace added, ‘I’m delighted that Kuno will receive the PDSA Dickin Medal. It is testament to his training, tireless bravery and devotion to duty which undoubtedly saved lives that day.’


He continued, ‘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.’

Hero Military Working Dog awarded animals Victoria CrossUK Ministry of Defence 2020

So far, 35 dogs, 32 pigeons, four horses and one cat have received the honour since it was instituted in 1943 by PDSA’s founder Maria Dickin CBE.

The PDSA wesbite explains how Dickin was inspired by ‘the incredible bravery displayed by animals on active service and the Home Front’ during the Second World War. Having been so moved by the their ‘devotion to man and duty’, the medal was introduced specifically for animals ‘serving with the Armed Forces or Civil Defence units in any theatre of war throughout the world’.


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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Animals, Al-Qaeda, Army, Dogs, military, Now