Bomb-Sniffing Dog Awarded State Honors By Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Photo Credit: Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP / Getty Images

The majority of military enthusiasts are aware of the importance of bomb-sniffing dogs, especially in times of war. One recently received state honors from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for helping neutralize hundreds of Russian explosives.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy clapping for Patron, the bomb-sniffing dog
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the news conference where Patron the bomb-sniffing dog was awarded state honors. (Photo Credit: Alexey Furman / Getty Images)

During a news conference held on May 8, 2022, Patron, a two-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, and his owner, Myhailo Iliev of Ukraine’s Civil Protection Service, were presented with a medal. According to Reuters, Patron, whose name means “cartridge” in Ukranian, has detected over 200 explosives since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine War in late-February 2022.

Also present at the news conference was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. During the medal presentation, he jokingly searched for treats in his suit pockets, while Patron excitedly barked and wagged his tail.

Speaking in a statement later in the day, Zelenskyy noted how important Patron’s work is. “A dog who helps clean our land from the tracers of the occupier, and who also helps teach children mine safety,” he said. “Due to the Russian invaders, this is now one of the most urgent tasks – to teach children to recognize and avoid explosive objects.”

Iliev initially purchased the Jack Russell Terrier from a work colleague, with the intention of giving him to his son as a pet. He was professionally trained by cynologists to show how dogs can be conditioned to perform certain tasks, and when the war started was taught how to sniff out mines.

Patron was trained to sniff out the smell of gunpowder. Once the scent has been detected, he gives Iliev a signal, who, with his teammates, works to locate the explosive devices and defuse them.

Since the start of the war, Patron has become a national symbol in Ukraine, having been posted across the country’s social media channels. His work has also inspired fanart, and his official Instagram account has amassed over 244,000 followers.

Woman bending down to pet Patron, the bomb-sniffing dog
Patron the bomb-sniffing dog at the news conference where he was awarded a medal by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. (Photo Credit: Alexey Furman / Getty Images)

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Speaking with The Washington Post, a spokesperson with the State Emergency Service said at least 54,000 unexploded ordnances and mines have been found and deactivated in Ukraine since February.

Due to the amount of explosives, over 600 de-miners are working around the clock, with more being recruited to work across the country.

Clare Fitzgerald

Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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