Thoughts from Denise
I love attending the PDSA Dickin Medal presentation. It’s the animal Victoria Cross and celebrates the gallantry and devotion of millions of animals that have served with our armed forces. Since its introduction the medal has been awarded to 29 dogs, 32 World War II messenger pigeons, three horses and one cat.
The latest presentation was a little different. Animals that served, and sometimes died, in World War I have been honoured by the presentation of the first prestigious Honorary Dickin Medal to heroic war horse, Warrior. Dubbed ‘the horse the Germans could not kill’, Warrior’s posthumous medal was accepted by broadcaster Brough Scott MBE, grandson of Warrior’s owner, General Jack Seely. Warrior served on the front line throughout the entire 1914-18 war. He was subjected to machine gun attacks and falling shells, buried under debris and got stuck in the mud at Passchendaele. He was twice trapped under the burning beams of his stables and never once flinched. His courage inspired the men fighting around him. According to the Imperial War Museum, “Over 16 million animals served in the First World War. They were used for transport, communication and companionship. By honouring Warrior in the centenary year, the PDSA has brought to the forefront the story of all those animals.”
The PDSA is one of my favourite charities. I’ve visited its hospitals and seen the amazing work it does. It enables us all, rich or poor, to know our pets will be cared for if they fall ill. Its 51 pet hospitals across the UK provide vital care for over 470,000 animals a year. We should cherish it.