awards for gallantry

Following the presentation of the PDSA Dickin Medal to three American dogs at Ground Zero on 5 March, the desire to acknowledge other deeds of immense bravery has been very much brought to the fore. The PDSA Dickin Medals collected by ‘Salty’, ‘Roselle’ and ‘Appollo’ were the first to be awarded outside the activities of World War II and its aftermath, but they are unlikely to be the last.

The Dickin Medal remains restricted to public service animals working for the military or police forces, law enforcement agencies, rescue services, UN peacekeeping missions or as assistance dogs. However, eligibility for the PDSA Dickin Medal has been extended to animals displaying outstanding courage and devotion to duty in saving human life in any theatre of military conflict. This change reinforces PDSA’s unique responsibility for awarding ‘the animals’ VC.’

A new medal, the PDSA Gold Medal for Gallantry will recognise the bravery of animals in times of peace. The medal will be awarded to an animal that is instrumental in saving human or animal life when its own is in jeopardy, or to an animal killed or seriously injured whilst carrying out official duties in the face of violent opposition. It is anticipated that this new award will become accepted as ‘the animals’ George Cross.’

Clare Evans, Executive Assistant to the Director General, said, “PDSA is currently looking for genuine stories of exceptional animal heroism that satisfy these criteria in order to highlight the efforts of animals which would otherwise pass without public recognition”.


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