Sadie (dog) - Dickin Medal

Dickin Medal

In November 2005 forces serving with NATO's International Security Assistance Force were involved in two separate attacks. Sadie and her handler, L/Cpl Karen Yardley, were deployed to search for explosive devices outside the United Nations headquarters in Kabul following a suicide attack. Sadie picked up the scent of a second device through a 2 feet (0.61 m) thick concrete wall, giving disposal experts the opportunity to defuse the bomb which was a pressure cooker bomb -- a pressure cooker filled with TNT. The bomb had been covered with sandbags, in order to kill and injure rescue workers following the suicide attack. For her actions, Sadie was awarded the Dickin Medal. Awarded by the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals, it is considered to be the animal's Victoria Cross.

L/Cpl Yardley described the situation; "As Sadie went towards the compound's wall onto the street she picked up a scent. She sat down and stared directly into the wall, which meant there was something right on the other side. I immediately shouted for everyone to get out of the area."

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. At the site of Sadie's indication, bomb disposal operators later made safe an explosive device. The bomb was designed 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. Fellow military dog Lucky was awarded posthumously at the ceremony for his work in Malaya in 1951. Marilyn Rydström, of the PDSA, said of Sadie's award; "The Dickin Medal is the highest award any animal can receive for bravery in the line of duty and Sadie is a very worthy recipient", while a Ministry of Defence spokesman said "Hundreds of our boys owe their lives to Sadie's keen nose and we're very proud of her."

At a ceremony to commemorate the restoration of the PDSA's Ilford Animal Cemetery in December 2007, Sadie attended with other recent winners of the Dickin Medal as the cemetery is the final resting place of several previous medallists.

During the run up to the first Sun Military Awards in 2008, The Sun suggested that had it been awarded the previous year, that it probably would have gone to Sadie and her handler.

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