Ukraine: Patron the mine-sniffing dog is awarded medal
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A Ukrainian mine-sniffing dog does not rest in his efforts to clear hundreds of landmines across the war-torn country. But it was all a bit too much at a ceremony where he was honoured for services to Ukraine – and he fell asleep during the press conference.
As this adorable photo shows, Patron, a Jack Russell terrier, had his eyes firmly closed as he rested his head on the desk.
It was tweeted by the BBC veteran John Simpson and has received more than 12,000 likes and a thousand retweets in the past two days from people who appreciate his efforts during Russia’s invasion.
He captioned the picture: “Patron, the Ukrainian Emergency Service’s Jack Russell terrier who sniffs out mines left by departing Russian troops, was introduced to the world’s press at a news conference. Only it was so boring, Patron went to sleep.”
One said: “What a hero! He must be exhausted! Poor doggie, he has saved so many lives!”
Another commented: “Imagine being the poor (no doubt equally brave) chap being upstaged by a tiny, snoozy dog!”
And another remarked: “There is no profession more noble than demining. They can do a lot worse than sleeping on the table, and I’ll still applaud.”
Patron has found fame across Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, and has been an iconic part of Ukraine’s resistance to Moscow.
He has been credited with clearing hundreds of mines and has become a symbol of Ukrainian strength.
His name is understood to mean “ammunition”, or “bullet” in Ukrainian.
The two-year-old is also the face of a public safety campaign and is pictured in his specialist jacket, close to images of explosives.
The caption reads: “Patron warns. If you see a suspicious object, do not approach, do not touch, call 101.”
The sleepy press conference came after Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, bestowed a medal on the terrier for services to Ukraine during the Russian invasion.
He referenced the tiny dog’s ability to educate on, as well as eradicate, dangerous landmines.
The Ukrainian leader said in a statement following the ceremony: “Today, I want to award those Ukrainian heroes who are already clearing our land of mines.
“And together with our heroes, a wonderful little sapper – Patron – who helps not only to neutralise explosives, but also to teach our children the necessary safety rules in areas where there is a mine threat.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was present at the ceremony, and the dog also met US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken during a visit to Mr Zelensky’s office.
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Back in June, he was immortalised in a mural in the Ukrainian capital, and various social media accounts have been created in his honour.
Patron has been described by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine as a pup who “helps his owner every day in the fight against the dangerous consequences of military actions”.
Writing on the organisation’s Facebook page, the service called “the little dog” a “true symbol of fighting” against the Russian forces in Ukraine.
The page added: “The war will surely end and every boy and girl who can finally walk freely in their beloved streets should know that the enemy has left behind many insidious “gifts”.
“And we remind you: Great heroes are not necessarily big, but explosive objects are necessarily dangerous.”
The post ended with a plea for members of the public to follow safety advice when approaching potentially explosive devices.
It read: “Remember! Every time you don’t follow the rules of safe behaviour with explosive objects – somewhere in Chernihiv region one Patron is upset.”
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