Have you recently heard about this tiny Jack Russell terrier that has won hearts and admirers for helping neutralize hundreds of Russian explosives in Ukraine? He has even won state honors, too.
Patron the bomb-sniffing dog — and his owner, Mykhailo Iliev of the Civil Protection Service— received a medal from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a news conference on Sunday, in recognition of their service to the country.
With his powerful snout and protective vest, Patron has become a fixture of Ukraine’s official social media channels and an international symbol of patriotism. He’s even inspired an outpouring of fan art in the form of illustrations (ranging from poignant to tongue-in-cheek) and knit plushies. His official Instagram page has more than 240,000 followers.
Zelenskyy handed out the award at a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Kyiv, as Patron barked and wagged his tail enthusiastically. At one point, Trudeau laughed and pretended to check his pockets for treats. This is such a neat story, and you can watch the ceremony here.
Patron poses at an award ceremony in Kyiv, Ukraine on Sunday. The Jack Russell terrier is credited with detecting more than 200 Russian explosive devices since the start of the war. Photo Credit: Efrem Lukatsky/AP.