A twelve year old German Shepard named Lucca helped saved thousands of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan through her service with the US military. She, sadly, lost her left front leg to an IED explosion in 2012.
Corporal Juan Rodriguez is her handler and was with her during the blast. He saw that she was severely injured and drug her into safety, where he swiftly applied a tourniquet to her leg and called in medics to pick them up.
He stayed with her throughout her operations and recovery period, scything that he felt he owed it to her after she had saved his life so many times. Now fully recovered, Lucca is living with Gunnery Sergeant Chris Willingham in California, but she and Chris recently flew to London. Why? So that Lucca could be presented with the Dickin Medal.
The Medal is awarded by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) and has existed since 1943. In that time it has been awarded to 31 dogs (which includes Lucca), 32 messenger pigeons in WW2, 3 horses, and one very brave cat. The Medal is the equivalent of the Victoria Cross, awarded to human soldiers for bravery in battle.
Now honored, Lucca can continue to live out the rest of her happy life with Chris Willingham. Lucca, thank you for all that you’ve done to keep soldiers throughout the world safe in times of dire need! And thank you to the soldiers who are out there fighting for the good of their countries!