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A VERY spe­cial dog has been awarded a medal.

Mali, a Bel­gian Mali­nois, re­ceived the Dickin Medal for sav­ing the lives of army troops dur­ing their ser­vice in Afghanistan.

Mali was thanked for help­ing Bri­tish forces find en­emy fighters dur­ing an eight-hour op­er­a­tion to get a heav­il­yarmed Tal­iban force away from a multi-storey build­ing.

The dog was sent through di­rect fire twice but lived to tell the tale. But his ef­forts weren’t with­out in­jury. Mali was wounded by three grenade blasts, caus­ing in­juries to his chest and legs. One of the ex­plo­sions hap­pened near his face, caus­ing the loss of his front tooth.

The Dickin Medal is awarded by an­i­mal char­ity the PDSA, and is the UK’s high­est hon­our for an­i­mal brav­ery.

Mali is the 69th an­i­mal to be awarded the medal, and the 32nd dog to win it. Mes­sen­ger pi­geons in World War II, four horses and a cat have also won the Dickin Medal.

Mali and his medal In other dog news, a new study pub­lished in Na­ture, has found that dog own­ers have health­ier hearts and live longer! Some 3.4 mil­lion Swedes were stud­ied for the re­port.

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