HELPING PAWS, HOOVES AND WINGS
One of the reasons I decided to write the books was to remind people that animals have served and died alongside humans in wars for thousands of years. Ancient civilisations used horses and dogs on battlefields, and pigeons to deliver messages; the Romans even used flaming pigs as weapons against Carthaginian elephants, but it wasn’t until the height of WW2 that animals gained any recognition for gallantry.
Instituted in 1943, the PDSA Dickin Medal acknowledges outstanding acts of bravery displayed by animals serving in military or civil defence units during wartime. Thirty-four dogs, 32 pigeons, four horses and a cat have been recipients, and some appear in the Umbrella Mouse books, so more people can be aware of these incredible creatures who saved countless lives while risking their own.