Lucca: A Military Hero Dog to Receive Victoria Cross Equivalent Award
There happened a bomb blast in Afghanistan Back in 2012, in which Lucca, a military working dog, lost her front leg. Lucca was trained to sniff explosives and defend her platoon which was no doubt a very dangerous task.
She served the U.S. Marine Corps for around 8 years under the instruction of 2 handlers, among whom the 2nd is Cpl. Juan Rodriguez in the time of explosion. Talking about the accident, he states:
“It was a massive explosion and I instantaneously feared the poorest for. I rushed towards her and watched her trying to stand up. I picked her and rushed to a neighboring tree line shelter; applied her injured leg a tourniquet and summoned the medics to receive us. Throughout Lucca’s operation and time she took in recovery, I stayed with her continuously. She is the one who saved my life on frequent incidents and it was the time when she needed me. So I made sure to stay with her in the hour of need.”
After 4 years, Lucca has been acknowledged for her contribution. The Dickin Medal from People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals is frequently regarded the Victoria Cross’ equivalent. It acknowledges “exceptional acts of devotion to duty or bravery exhibited by animals” in war, and is the total utmost honor for a military animal.
Before Lucca, 29 dogs received this honor, and she is the 1st dog from U.S. Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Willingham, who is the 1st handler and present adoptive owner of Lucca, says:
“It is quite overwhelming being associated with the whole process. I think the more important thing is that, the accomplishments will help convey recognition and awareness of all our military dogs and handlers”. He further told that he receives a huge respect for plentiful military canine handlers preceding him, and that serve alongside them is a privilege.
Lucca, now having 3 limbs, is doing extraordinarily fine. She is retired at the age of 12. During her service, she had been to 1 tour to Afghanistan and 2 to Iraq. In these tours, she led the course on more than 400 patrols and not a single Marine got wounded in her company, not even in the explosion that cost her leg.
She is really a true hero.