The PDSA Dickin Medal for bravery was instituted in 1943 as a way to honor the work of British animals during World War II.
Special Forces dog Mali, an 8-year-old Belgian Malinois, recently became the 32nd canine recipient of the award, considered the highest honor that can be bestowed upon an animal for military service.
Mali and his handler Corporal Daniel Hatley visited BBC Radio 4 to discuss the honor where the hero pup mistook his prestigious award for a chew toy!
BBC Radio posted an adorable photo of Hatley attempting to drape Mali’s medal around his neck. Instead the pooch snatched the ribbon between his teeth – a tender reminder of the playful canine soul within the war hero!
When you don’t really feel like putting on your medal for bravery #dickinmedal pic.twitter.com/bdSBrbGetd
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) November 17, 2017
Mali received the Dickin Award from the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) for sniffing out explosives and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan during a 2012 Special Boat Service mission. He continued to guide his team even after he was injured by three grenade blasts, determined to ensure a safe route for them.
Thanks to Mali, the seven hour mission was a success. Special Forces were able to secure a key enemy stronghold in a multi-story building where a militant group of heavily armed suicide bombers were hiding out.
His bravery and perseverance saved the lives of several of his fellow British soldiers.
On the day Mali received his medal, director general of the PDSA, Jan McLoughlin, said:
“Mali has displayed a truly awesome ability and determination to seek out explosives and insurgents during a key operation. To achieve this while exposed to close combat and such intense enemy attack makes him an incredibly worthy recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal.”
After recovering from the injuries to his belly, chest, ears and teeth sustained during the mission, Mali retired from active duty. He now works as a training dog for the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC), helping new dog handlers hone their skills.
Mali’s award is so prestigious only 68 other animals have received it for their service in nearly 75 years. Previous PDSA Dickin Medals have gone to 32 pigeons, 31 dogs, four horses and one cat.
H/T to Unilad & The UK Independent
Featured Images via Facebook/British Army & Twitter/BBC Radio 4 Today