Lucca isn’t an ordinary 12-year-old German Shepherd. She’s a highly training military dog who served in the US Marine Corps for six years on multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, protecting the lives of troops by sniffing out dangerous munitions.
She lost a leg while detecting a roadside bomb with her nose on March 23, 2012. In the process, she discovered a weapons cache under a haystack in a poppy field, and the 30lb IED was removed. Within 10 days of her injury, Lucca was up and walking around on three legs.
Now, she’s being offered the PDSA Dickin Medal, the highest military award for animals serving in military conflict. She’s the 67th animal in history to receive it… Incredible!
There were no human casualties during any of her patrols but, in 2012, she lost her leg and suffered chest burns after discovering a home-made bomb in Afghanistan and retired.
Lucca’s owner, Gunnery Sergeant Chris Willingham, travelled to London with his pet to accept the medal.
He said: “Lucca is very intelligent, loyal and had an amazing drive for work as a search dog. She is the only reason I made it home to my family and I am fortunate to have served with her. Today, I do my best to keep her spoiled in her well-deserved retirement.”
Jan McLoughlin, director general of the PDSA, said: “Lucca’s conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty makes her a hugely deserving recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal. Her ability and determination to seek out arms and explosives preserved human life amid some of the world’s fiercest military conflicts.”
Cpl Rodriguez applied a tourniquet to Lucca’s leg and bandaged her burns while a Medical Evacuation (Medevac) team was called. None of the soldiers in the patrol were injured in the blast and Lucca was evacuated from Afghanistan to complete her recovery.
Cpl Rodriguez stayed at her side throughout each move, sleeping next to Lucca as she recovered.
Cpl Rodriguez said: “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.
Via The Telegraph
Lucca now lives in California with Sgt. Willingham and his family. What a brave dog, and we thank her for helping keep our Marines safe!
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