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Hero Pup Patron Awarded Medal By Ukrainian President Zelensky For Sniffing Out Over 250 Bombs And Munitions
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Dogs, Good News3 months ago

Hero Pup Patron Awarded Medal By Ukrainian President Zelensky For Sniffing Out Over 250 Bombs And Munitions Interview With Owner

At the point of writing this article, it is day 77 of the Russo-Ukraine war. News keeps coming every hour on the developments, tragic losses, and contemplations of the next move. Whilst we’re sitting observing, millions have been uprooted from their lives, with very little to look forward to. However, there have been some rays of light shining through the storm clouds and one of them we’ll look at today.

A tiny puppy, named Patron, was recently awarded with a medal of service by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for his great assistance in finding over 200 bombs and munitions close to Kyiv. The adorable pup has helped save countless lives with his special little nose and deserves all the attention.

Your comments, upvotes and follows are much appreciated, dear Pandas. Now, let’s get into the details.

More info: Instagram

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky honored Patron, a Jack Russell terrier mix, and his owner for their “dedicated service” to the country

Image credits: patron_dsns

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky presented Myhailo Iliev and his Jack Russell terrier mix, Patron, with medals, one being the state award of Ukraine – the Order of Courage III degree – and for the pup – a medal “For Dedicated Service.” The pup has sniffed out over 250 bombs and other munitions while working with Ukrainian bomb disposal teams in the northeastern city of Chernihiv, close to Kyiv.

The state awards ceremony on Sunday, May 8, was led by the president, who praised both of them: “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.”

Patron has been helping soldiers find over 250 bombs and other munitions, saving lives in the process

Image credits: patron_dsns

Patron wagged his tail and barked at Zelensky as he announced the award and the audience laughed and cooed at the heartwarming sight.

Not only did Patron get to meet Zelensky, but also Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who’d come for a visit to Ukraine on the same day. Trudeau, along with Zelensky, searched his pockets for a treat for Patron, but came up empty. According to CNN, the bomb detecting and defusing operation has utilized Canadian technology. Myhailo wrote on his Instagram account that it’ll be a day “etched in my memory for a lifetime,” adding: “Glory to Ukraine and the Armed Forces.”

His owner Myhailo was given the Order of Courage III degree and the pup – a medal “For Dedicated Service”

Image credits: patron_dsns

Patron recently became universally beloved by humans after people caught word of his work in Ukraine around late April, his photos on Instagram enjoyed by over 240k followers.

Myhailo told Bored Panda that they got Patron for their son “because he wanted just such a breed of dog” and currently the pup is 2.5-years-old. He said that “from the age of 6 months he was taken to dog trainers to prepare for exhibitions because his parents were multiple winners of exhibitions. But in connection with my profession, we taught him to detect explosives.”

Image credits: patron_dsns

Patron is much like any other pup, liking a good run with others, taking naps, and smelling the pretty flowers

Image credits: patron_dsns

The name “Patron” means “bullet” in Ukrainian, which seems appropriate considering how fast he works. His owner told Today that Patron is a “very active dog” that “likes to have a good run with other dogs and then, of course, sleep.”

The owner told Bored Panda that “the war did not affect us in any way, it only brought more work and sorrow to the people.” He continued, saying: “We just do our job. Even if no one rewarded us, the quality or the passion for work has not changed. Support has increased but we must not forget about our professional responsibilities in the first place.”

Image credits: patron_dsns

Dogs have aided people during wars since at least 600 B.C., taking up many roles in the process

Image credits: patron_dsns

Patron isn’t the only dog out there helping out war efforts. It’s actually been quite common to use our four legged friends in aid. According to the American Kennel Club, dogs have been used as messengers, patrol dogs, guard dogs, mine dogs, Red Cross dogs or as draught dogs for the transportation of weapons, ammunition, food and medical supplies during war times.

As said by Military.com, pups have served in mankind’s wars since at least 600 B.C. when the Lydian king deployed dogs to help break the invading army of Cimmerians.

Image credits: patron_dsns

Utilizing the pup’s incredible sense of smell, the tool can become priceless when it comes to saving lives

Image credits: patron_dsns

Dogs’ sense of smell is roughly 50 times better than ours, meaning they can sniff out IEDs before they detonate and injure or kill.

According to retired Air Force K9 handler, Louis Robinson, a fully trained bomb detection canine is likely worth over $150,000, and considering the lives it may save, you could characterize it as priceless. That is exactly why Patron deserves his award.

Image credits: patron_dsns

Image credits: patron_dsns

They start training at a young age as they’re most playful, eager to learn, or at least, eager to earn some tasty treats

Image credits: patron_dsns

Pups start their training when they are between 1 and 3 years old, as explained in How Stuff Works. In this window, dogs are the most playful and willing to learn, which is essential.

The military first teaches dogs to be interested in the smell of explosives. A trainer will hold the smell of an explosive near the dog’s nose. If the dog sniffs it, it gets a reward. That’s repeated many times.

Next, the trainee learns to seek the smells. If an explosive is hidden, and the dog follows the scent, it’s rewarded again.

Image credits: patron_dsns

Image credits: patron_dsns

Specific odors linked to bombs and explosives are imprinted on the dog’s brain by constant repetition and reward, Pavlov-style

Image credits: patron_dsns

As explained by Merry and Zane Roberts, MSA’s lead canine trainers, the dog doesn’t smell the bomb: “It deconstructs an odor into its components, picking out just the culprit chemicals it has been trained to detect.”

Roberts likes to use the spaghetti sauce analogy. “When you walk into a kitchen where someone is cooking spaghetti sauce, your nose says aha, spaghetti sauce. A dog’s nose doesn’t say that.”

“Instinctively, it says tomatoes, garlic, rosemary, onion, oregano. It’s the handler who says tomato sauce, or, as it happens, bomb.” These odors are imprinted on the dog’s brain by constant repetition and reward, Pavlov-style.

Safety comes first, with pups being taught to not approach the explosives too closely and run back to their handlers immediately after detection

Image credits: patron_dsns

The dog then runs ahead of troops, sniffing and upon smelling a bomb, it sits. The troops stop advancing. The dog runs back to troops to get its treat, and an explosive ordnance disposal team disarms the bomb.

Of course, bomb-sniffing comes with a risk of death. Luckily, the casualty rate for dogs is lower than you might expect and the military safeguards its dogs by teaching them to run back to their handlers immediately after finding a bomb.

We hope Patron and Myhailo have a lot of days together and that he can retire from bomb-finding duties soon

Image credits: patron_dsns

At the end of the day, the handler cares for the dog 24 hours a day. These two spend more time together than with almost anyone else and we hope Patron and Myhailo have lots more to come.

You can watch an excerpt of the ceremony here

The war is still continuing, with very little hint of stopping any time soon. If you’d like to help support Ukraine, you can find a list of resources here. I wish you all a good day and hope that we can look upon the Russo-Ukrainian war as a tragic memory, rather than an unfathomable reality.

Myhailo, when asked what his message would be to all the readers was: “I would like to say to people from Russia – do not believe what your media writes and shows; come to us and see everything with your own eyes. Ukraine will be victorious, an indomitable people.”

People have loved Patron, sending the pair lots of support. What are your thoughts? Leave them in the comments!

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Jojo Armani
Community Member
3 months ago

Take all my upvotes!!

BoredPanda Staff
3 months ago

Thank you kindly!! ❤️

Load More Replies...
Monika Rhodes
Community Member
3 months ago

The video of this is so sweet too. Like 'don't touch the dog' gestures to canadian Prime Minister.

GlassHalfWay
Community Member
3 months ago

Such a good boy! Beagles can sniff out bed bugs too. Many hotels have used them before

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Jojo Armani
Community Member
3 months ago

Take all my upvotes!!

BoredPanda Staff
3 months ago

Thank you kindly!! ❤️

Load More Replies...
Monika Rhodes
Community Member
3 months ago

The video of this is so sweet too. Like 'don't touch the dog' gestures to canadian Prime Minister.

GlassHalfWay
Community Member
3 months ago

Such a good boy! Beagles can sniff out bed bugs too. Many hotels have used them before

Load More Comments
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