Patron the bomb sniffling hero
A tiny Jack Russell terrier has won hearts and admirers for helping neutralize hundreds of Russian explosives in Ukraine. Now he’s won state honors, too.
Patron the bomb-sniffing dog– and his owner, Mykhailo Iliev of the Civil Protection Service— received a medal from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a news conference on Sunday, in recognition of their service to the country.
Patron, whose name means “ammo” in Ukrainian, is credited with detecting more than 200 undetonated explosive devices since the beginning of the war in late February, according to Reuters.
Patron has become a fixture of Ukraine’s official social media channels and an international symbol of patriotism. He’s even inspired an outpouring of fan art in the form of illustrations (ranging from poignant to tongue-in-cheek) and knit plushies. His official Instagram page has more than 220,000 followers.
Zelenskyy handed out the award at a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Kyiv, as Patron barked and wagged his tail enthusiastically. At one point, Trudeau laughed and pretended to check his pockets for treats.