Our nation’s servicemen and servicewomen deserve great admiration and respect. They dedicate years of their lives to defend and preserve the freedom and liberties you and I experience on an everyday basis. But not all troops have two legs. Many have four legs. Dogs play an important role in the military, yet they have struggled to earn recognition and appreciation for their work as American heroes.
This all changed when a military war dog named Lucca was recently awarded with a special medal.
In 2012, Lucca lost her front leg while sniffing out explosives and defending her platoon. As she was performing her job, a roadside bomb exploded in Afghanistan, costing her a leg in the process.
Lucca had served her country for 8 years as part of the U.S. Marine Corps. She was handled by Corporal Juan Rodriguez during the explosion. Reflecting on the explosion,Cpl. Rodriguez says, “The explosion was huge and I immediately feared the worst for Lucca. I ran to her and saw her struggling to get up. I picked her up and ran to the shelter of a nearby tree line; applied a tourniquet to her injured leg and called the medics to collect us. I stayed with her constantly throughout her operation and her recovery. She had saved my life on so many occasions – I had to make sure that I was there for her when she needed me.”
4 years after the explosion, Lucca is finally recognized for her contributions to her country. The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) is awarding her with the Dickin Medal, which recognizes “outstanding acts of bravery or devotion to duty displayed by animals.”
It’s the highest military honor for an animal.
Now retired from the military, Lucca, at 12-years-old, is getting along just fine. She has a loving, adoptive owner!
Congratulations, Lucca. You deserve the award. Thank you for being a true hero!
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