Hero Military Working Dog awarded animals’ Victoria Cross

A retired Military Working Dog who suffered life-changing injuries while supporting British Forces fighting Al Qaeda has been awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal for his bravery and devotion.

During the 2019 operation, four-year old Belgian Shepherd Malinois, Kuno, and his handler were deployed in support or specialist UK and host nation forces on a compound raid against a well-armed aggressive enemy when they came under attack.

Pinned down by grenade and machine-gun fire from an insurgent, the assault force was unable to move without taking casualties. Without hesitation, Kuno charged through a hail of gunfire to tackle the gunman, breaking the deadlock and changing the course of the attack, allowing the mission to be completed successfully.

During the assault Kuno was wounded by bullets in both back legs. He was given life-saving treatment by his handler and by medics in the back of a helicopter.

Kuno’s injuries were so severe that he required operations before he was stable enough to fly back to the UK. Sadly, part of one of Kuno’s rear paws had to be amputated to prevent life-threatening infection.

But now, he is thriving in retirement after becoming the first UK MWD to be fitted with custom-made prosthetic limbs.

Kuno was formally presented with his PDSA Dickin Medal – the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross – via a virtual presentation today (24 November) by the vet charity’s Director General.

Discussing the award, PDSA Director General, Jan McLoughlin 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 his bravery and devotion to duty, we’re honoured to welcome him as the latest recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal.”

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

“I’m proud of the role our military working dogs play on operations at home and abroad. Kyno’s story reminds us of the lengths these animals go to keep us all safe.”

To meet Kuno and watch him receive his PDSA Dickin Medal you can visit: www.pdsa.org.uk/kuno

Staff Sergeant Chris Byles with retired Military Working Dog Kuno – COURTESY OF PDSA