An unlikely soldier protecting Ukrainians against the Russian invasion has been awarded a medal.
A Jack Russell terrier named Patron got more than just a pat on the head for a job well done.
Patron is a bomb-sniffing dog that has been finding land mines, The Washington Post reported.
He also has a second job to do — teaching children about the dangers of mines.
“Today, I want to award those Ukrainian heroes who are already clearing our land of mines. And together with our heroes, a wonderful little sapper - Patron - who helps not only to neutralize explosives, but also to teach our children the necessary safety rules in areas where there is a mine threat,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said after the ceremony, according to Reuters.
Russian troops have been leaving explosive devices along the routes Ukrainians have been using to escape the fighting.
Patron’s mission isn’t new as dogs have been used since World War II to find mines because they can find them faster than humans can, especially in areas of conflict where debris causes metal detectors to be useless, the Post reported.
Dogs can sniff out not only the explosive substances used but also the metal and plastic used in a device’s housing.
Patron has also had a following on social media and has inspired works of art, cartoons and toys.
Zelenskyy said that Patron, whose name means cartridge in Ukrainian, has found more than 200 explosives since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. The number has not been confirmed by media outlets.
The pup was a bit excited to get his honor as he barked and wagged his tail during the ceremony, according to Reuters.
Patron’s owner, Myhailo Iliev, a major in the Civil Protection Service, also got a medal for his service, Reuters reported.