The retired British Aʀᴍʏ Working Dog sᴜffᴇʀed life-changing ɪɴjᴜʀies while supporting the British special fᴏʀᴄᴇs fɪɢʜᴛing Al Qaeda and has now been awarded the Dickin Medal – the highest award any animal can receive within the British military – from the People’s Dispensary for Sɪᴄᴋ Animals (PDSA).
To put it into human perspective: that’s the animal equivalent of winning the Victoria Cross, the UK’s version of the Medal of Honor.
“Kuno is a true hero,” Jan McLoughlin from the PDSA veterinary charity said in a release about the award, which was given to Kuno for his incredible bravery during a 2019 operation in Afɢʜᴀɴɪsᴛᴀɴ.
For the operation, the four-year-old military pooch was deployed to support British ᴛʀᴏᴏᴘs ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋing a well-ᴀʀᴍᴇᴅ A̴l̴-̴Q̴a̴e̴d̴a̴ compound.
Kuno leapt into action when his team were pinned down by ɢʀᴇɴᴀᴅᴇ and ᴍᴀᴄʜɪɴᴇ -ɢᴜɴ fɪʀᴇ in a ʀᴀɪᴅ at an undisclosed location.
The enemy fɪʀᴇᴅ wildly at the shape bounding towards them, but the brave Belgian Shepherd successfully tackled the ɢᴜɴman, letting the soldiers clear the rest of the compound.
Unfortunately several rounds found their mark, and Kuno was S.H.O.T in both back legs.
He had to have one paw ᴀᴍᴘᴜᴛᴀᴛᴇᴅ and has since been fitted with custom ᴘʀᴏsᴛʜᴇᴛɪᴄ limbs.
Now retired, he has been given the PDSA Dickin Medal for his devotion to duty.
‘Kuno is a true hero,’ said PDSA’s Jan McLoughlin. ‘His actions that day undoubtedly changed the course of a vital mission, saving multiple lives in the process.
‘And despite serious, life changing ɪɴjᴜʀies, 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.’
Defence secretary Ben Wallace said: ‘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.
‘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.’
She believed that if animals were recognised for their heroic actions, it would help raise their status in society and ensure they are better ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴇᴅ.
Kuno is the 72nd recipient of the Dickin Medal since it was created in December 1943, at the height of Wᴏʀʟᴅ Wᴀʀ II.
To date, its recipients include 35 dogs, 32 W̴W̴2̴ messenger pigeons, four horses, and one cat.