The PDSA Dickin Medal was instituted in 1943 in the United Kingdom by Maria Dickin to honour the work of animals in war. It is a bronze medallion, bearing the words "For Gallantry" and "We Also Serve" within a laurel wreath, carried on a ribbon of striped green, dark brown and pale blue. It is awarded to animals that have displayed "conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty while serving or associated with any branch of the Armed Forces or Civil Defence Units". The award is commonly referred to as "the animals' Victoria Cross".
Maria Dickin was the founder of the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), a British veterinary charity. She established the award for any animal displaying conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty whilst serving with British Empire armed forces or civil emergency services. The medal was awarded 54 times between 1943 and 1949 – to 32 pigeons, 18 dogs, three horses, and one cat – to acknowledge actions of gallantry or devotion during the Second World War, and subsequent conflicts.
The awarding of the medal was revived in 2000 to honour Gander, a Newfoundland dog who saved infantrymen during the Battle of Lye Mun. In early 2002, the medal was given in honour of three dogs for their role responding to the September 11 attacks; it was also awarded to two dogs serving with Commonwealth forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq. In December 2007, 12 former recipients buried at the PDSA Animal Cemetery in Ilford, Essex, were afforded full military honours at the conclusion of a National Lottery-aided project to restore the cemetery.
The first recipients of the award, in December 1943, were three pigeons, serving with the Royal Air Force, all of whom contributed to the recovery of air crew from ditched aircraft during the Second World War. The most recent animal to be honoured is Theo, a search dog serving in Afghanistan. As of October 2012, the Dickin Medal has been awarded 64 times. The same month will see the publication of a book detailing all recipient animals and their exploits.
... For her actions, Sadie was awarded the Dickin Medal ... Sadie's Dickin Award citation reads as follows "Sadie gave a positive indication near a concrete blast wall and multinational personnel were moved to a safe distance ... to inflict maximum injury." Sadie became the 61st recipient of the medal, which she received from Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra on 6 February 2007 in a ceremony at the Imperial War Museum in London, England ...