VJ Day 2020 - honouring the animals who served

This year marks the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, which marks both the surrender of Japan and the end of the Second World War. We're paying tribute to some of the amazing animal heroes who bravely served in the war. 

The idea of our beloved pets going to war might be something we don't need to worry about, but for a lot of people during World War II that was the reality and they were often encouraged to volunteer their animals. 

PDSA founder, Maria Dickin, decided these incredible animals needed the recognition they deserve. The PDSA Dickin Medal, known as the animals' Victoria Cross, does just this. 

We're giving away some of these medal stories for free. Take a look below at three fearless animals who put their paws (and wings!) in harms way to protect and serve. 


Meet the heroes


Judy was the mascot on board HMS Grasshopper during the escape from Singapore when the Japanese invaded in 1942. She became a prisoner of war with her crew after their ship was attacked.

Download Judy's story

Little Q

During an attack, Little Q was one of a number of pigeons released to send an urgent message of a counter attack to allied forces. Little Q made it back to HQ despite being under heavy fire. 

Download Little Q's story


Gander originally started out as a mascot for the 1st Battalion, Royal Rifles of Canada in 1940. He protected his colleagues on numerous occasions while posted in Hong Kong.

Download Gander's story

Where to next?

PDSA Animal Awards

There are four different awards in the PDSA Animal Awards Programme. Explore our medals and some of their recipients.

Animal Honours

Maria Dickin

Read the story of our incredible founder, Maria Dickin, and how we're continuing her incredible legacy in the work we do every day.

We are PDSA

Can you help?

Right now, thousands of pets need our help. We only reach 1 in 8 of those, but you could help us be there for more pets in need.

Donate now