The PDSA Dickin Medal was established in 1943 by Maria Dickin in the United Kingdom to honor the work of animals during World War II. It is a bronze medallion with the words For Gallantry and We Also Serve within a laurel wreath, carried on a striped green, dark brown, and pale blue ribbon. But did you know a rescue dog who received the Dickin Award saved 100 people?
A WW2 search and rescue dog who received the Dicken Medal for bravery in 1945. He was discovered by an Air Raid warden in Poplar, London, in 1940 and became the service’s first search and rescue dog. He is credited with saving the lives of over 100 people.
Rip the Brave Dog
A local Air Raid Warden discovered Rip, a crossbreed terrier, alone and hungry after a heavy air raid on Poplar, London, in 1940.
Rip was made homeless after the Luftwaffe attacked Poplar, East London, in 1940. He somehow survived the bombing but was left to roam the streets, probably stealing scraps to keep himself alive.
Mr. E. King, the Warden, took pity on him, fed him some scraps, and the two became inseparable. Mr. King’s Civil Defence Squad colleagues in post B132, the Southill Street Air Raid Patrol (ARP), adopted Rip as a mascot. Rip demonstrated a talent for sniffing out survivors trapped in bombed-out buildings and soon became an unofficial Search and Rescue dog. Rip had no formal training but seemed to have an intuitive ability to find survivors, and he quickly became the ARP’s first ‘official’ Search and Rescue dog.
It must have been a spectacular sight when a damp, dusty nose finally pushed its way through the smallest gap to make contact with the trapped or injured victim. With a triumphant wag of his stubby little tail, Rip, the gallant mongrel terrier, saved another life in his illustrious career as a search dog.
During the 12 months between 1940 and 1941, the brave mutt combined the inherited skills of unknown parentage to rescue more than 100 Blitz victims from the ruins of London.
Rip and his ARP colleagues worked tirelessly throughout the London Blitz to locate and rescue people and animals trapped in the wreckage of bombed-out buildings. Rip is thought to have saved the lives of more than 100 people in just a year. His abilities and exploits were so admired that he inspired the highly-trained Search and Rescue dogs we’re all familiar with today. (Source: Daily Mail)
The Hero Dog’s Story
His extraordinary bravery earned him the PDSA Dickin Medal in July 1945, two years after it was introduced by the veterinary charity’s founder, Maria Dickin. He proudly wore it on his collar until the day he died.
The bronze medal was awarded to animals who displayed conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty” while serving or being associated with the Armed Forces or Civil Defense units. It has since been awarded to animals involved in the Iraq war.
When Rip died, he became the first of a long line of supreme animal heroes’ to be laid to rest in the PDSA cemetery in Ilford, Essex. (Source: Daily Mail)