Belgian Shepherd dog from US awarded UK's animal version of Victoria Cross for saving soldiers from bombs

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 — A Belgian Shepherd sniffer dog that saved multiple lives from Taliban bombs has been awarded the animal version of the Victoria Cross.

Bass served in the US Marine Corps, became the 75th animal to win the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals’s (PDSA) Dickin Medal — the highest accolade any animal can receive while serving in the military, Metro reported.

The now 10-year-old spent six years in the US Marine Special Operation Command and conducted more than 350 explosive sweeps in 46 missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.

His highest accolade was helping in the capture of a Taliban bomb-maker in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in May 2019, when enemy soldiers opened fire and detonated a bomb.

Bass’ team had to find a safer vantage point and, in doing so, the brave dog quickly identified an explosive near the doorway of a building they were going to use.

After finding another entry to the building, Bass continued to sweep it and found four other bombs.

Bass has retired and now lives with his former handler, Staff Sergeant Alex Schnell, in San Antonio, Texas.

Schnell said it was truly one of the greatest honours to see Bass awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal.

“Bass is an incredible dog and I hope his story helps to demonstrate just how important animals are to our armed forces, and the key, sometimes life-saving, roles that they play,” he reportedly said.

The PDSA Dickin Medal was launched by the UK veterinary charity in 1943 after its founder, Maria Dickin, realised the amount of lives animals had saved in the Second World War.

The award is a large, bronze medallion bearing the words ‘For Gallantry’ and ‘We Also Serve’ all within a laurel wreath.

The Medal has since been awarded 75 times to 38 dogs, 32 pigeons, four horses and one cat.