Because of his aid in defusing hundreds of Russian bombs in Ukraine, a mine-sniffing dog was awarded for his efforts and services to the country by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
The two-and-a-half-year-old Jack Russell, Patron, was given a medal on May 8 at a ceremony in Kyiv. The army service dog sniffs out Russian mines and explosives in the north-eastern city of Chernihiv and acts as a mascot of the country’s state emergency service. He is a fixture on Ukraine’s social media channels and sparked a flood of fan art in the form of drawings and crocheted plushies. His official Instagram page has more than 220,000 followers.
“Today, I want to award those Ukrainian heroes who are already clearing our land of mines,” Zelenskiy said in a statement. “And together with our heroes, a wonderful little sapper – Patron – who helps not only to neutralise explosives, but also to teach our children the necessary safety rules in areas where there is a mine threat.”
At a press briefing, Zelenskiy awarded Patron and his owner, Mykhailo Iliev, with their trophies, which he shared with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who paid a surprise visit to the country on Sunday.