It’s a dog’s life

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Lucca and handler, Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Willingham.

A 12-YEAR-OLD ex-military dog is to receive the doggy Victoria Cross after completing more than 400 missions in Afghanistan. 

Lucca, a German Shepherd bitch, lost one of her front legs in the line of duty whilst searching for explosive devises in 2012 when working with the US Marine Corps in Iraq. 

The medal-winning dog has been flown from California to The Wellington Barracks in London to be awarded the Dickin Medal. 

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Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Willingham, Lucca’s handler, told Sky News it was an “incredible honour” to receive the award.

“It is very humbling to be part of this entire process. I think more importantly is that Lucca’s accomplishments are going to help bring awareness and recognition too all our military working dogs and their handlers.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for the dog handlers who have served before me and allowed me to do my job today.

“I have had the privilege of serving with some of the finest, both in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Founded in 1943 by the PDSA – People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, the award has previously been given to 29 dogs, 32 World War Two messenger pigeons, three horses and one cat.

Jan McLoughlin, spokesperson from the charity, said: “Lucca’s conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty makes her a hugely deserving recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal.

“Her ability and determination to seek out arms and explosives preserved human life amid some of the world’s fiercest military conflicts.”


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