Four-year-old Belgian Malinois, Kuno, served with British special forces in Afghanistan
Belgian Malinois, Kuno, has proved beyond all doubt that dogs truly are humanity’s best friends.
The retired British Army Working Dog suffered life-changing injuries when supporting the British special forces fighting Al Qaeda.
During a raid, Kuno tackled a gunman and was hit by bullets in both back legs.
After losing one of his paws, as a result, he became the first UK military dog to get custom-made prosthetics.
He has now been awarded the Dickin Medal, the highest award any animal can receive within the British military.
That’s the human 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 Afghanistan.
Kuno and his handler were deployed during a night raid targeting al-Qaeda extremists in Afghanistan when they came under attack.
Unfortunately, the assault force became pinned down by a heavy barrage of grenades and machine-gun fire launched by an insurgent equipped with night vision goggles, who had concealed himself in the compound.
The British and Afghan troops were now unable to move without sustaining casualties so Kuno was sent in to break the deadlock.
Without hesitation, he charged through a hail of bullets while wearing night-vision goggles to tackle the gunman, wrestling him to the ground and halting his attack.
Kuno, who had already incapacitated one insurgent and discovered a stash of hidden explosives during the raid, sprinted through the compound’s doorway to attack the insurgent.
Startled by Kuno’s arrival, the gunman fired wildly into the darkness, injuring the dog in both hind legs.
Despite the serious leg wounds, Kuno continued to press forward and threw himself at the gunman, biting his arm and wrestling him to the ground.
The brave dog continued to attack the Al-Qaeda fighter until the assault force entered the courtyard and cleared the building. Only then did he finally take a rest.
“His actions that day undoubtedly changed the course of a vital mission, saving multiple lives in the process. And despite serious, life-changing injuries, he performed his duty without faltering,” McLoughlin added in the release.
“For this bravery and devotion to duty, we are honored to welcome him as the latest recipient of the PDSA Dickin.”
A bullet narrowly missed his main artery and needed several life-saving operations before he could fly back to the UK for further treatment.
Vets had to amputate part of one of his rear paws to prevent a life-threatening infection from taking hold and then underwent extensive reconstructive surgery.
Just like injured soldiers, Kuno began a lengthy rehabilitation programme to restore function to his nerves and muscles and is said to have particularly enjoyed his sessions on the hydrotherapy treadmill.
Happily, the hero dog has since made a full recovery from his surgery and has become the first U.K. Military Working Dog to be fitted with custom-made prosthetic limbs.
The PDSA describes him as being “in good spirits and health.”
“Without Kuno, the course of this operation could have been very different, and it’s clear he saved the lives of British personnel that day”
“This particular raid was one of the most significant achievements against al Qaeda in several years.”
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.”
Kuno is the 72nd recipient of the Dickin Medal since it was created in December 1943, at the height of World War II.