Meet Patron, Ukraine's Latest War Hero

President Zelensky awards Jack Russell terrier a medal for his mine-sniffing work
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2022 10:29 AM CDT
Meet Patron, Ukraine's Latest War Hero
Patron, seen here at an awards ceremony in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

(Newser) – A very special awards ceremony was held over the weekend in Kyiv to honor the nation's newest hero amid the Russian invasion: a 2 1/2-year-old dog named Patron, reports the BBC. A medal was bestowed upon the Jack Russell terrier at a Sunday news conference by none other than Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was in town on a surprise visit, at his side. Patron—whose name means "cartridge" or "ammo" in Ukrainian, per the Washington Post and New York Times—received his badge of honor for sniffing out more than 200 land mines across the country.

Zelensky praised Patron, "a wonderful little sapper ... who helps not only to neutralize explosives, but also to teach our children the necessary safety rules in areas where there is a mine threat." Patron is already a well-known character across the land, seen in videos on social media and serving as the inspiration for kids' artwork and knit toys. It's not clear if Patron, decked out in his trademark safety vest for the occasion, totally understood the weight of the moment, but Trudeau, who announced $50 million in added military aid from Canada to Ukraine, seemed to get the pooch's attention when he patted his pockets as if searching for a dog treat, causing Patron to bark. "Even if the dog barked at me, we're helping fund that," Trudeau joked. (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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