Fighting and serving side-by-side with soldiers, canines who are in the military are also at risk to get hurt or die as much as their soldier pals.
A lot of them lay their lives on the line just to be of help to soldiers during missions in life-forsaken places and war zones. One of these dogs is hero canine Lucca, a bomb-sniffing U.S. Marine Corps dog. In 2012, while on duty in Afghanistan, this brave dog lost her front leg in a roadside IED blast. In her six years of service in the military, she successfully completed almost half a thousand missions and helped protect the lives of allied troops during their duty in the Middle East. In fact, there wasn’t a single human casualty during any of her patrols, according to reports.
Gunnery Sgt. Chris Willingham, who is now the one in-charge to take care of Lucca says, “She is the only reason I made it home to my family and I am fortunate to have served with her. In addition to her incredible detection capabilities, Lucca was instrumental in increasing morale for the troops we supported.”
Lucca's bravery and years of service in the military made a British charity, The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) recognize her heroism. 12-year-old Lucca, a German Shepherd was awarded the prestigious Dickin Medal — described as the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross — the highest military decoration awarded for valor in the U.K. The PDSA has been awarding this since 1943 to honor animals for their achievements in service of the military, and Lucca is the first American dog to receive the award.
According to Jan McLoughlin, PDSA's director general, “Lucca’s conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty makes her a hugely deserving recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal. Her ability and determination to seek out arms and explosives preserved human life amid some of the world’s fiercest military conflicts.”
Right now, Lucca is enjoying her retirement in California, still jumping and bouncing with joy in her three strong legs.
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