Following the tragic events of September 11, PDSA - Britains No. 1 veterinary charity- awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal, the animals Victoria Cross, to two faithful guide dogs and the gallant Search and Rescue dogs of Ground Zero and the Pentagon.
Guide dog Salty, owned by Omar Rivera, and guide dog Roselle, owned by Michael Hingson, received their PDSA Dickin Medals for their devotion to duty as they led their owners down more than 70 floors of the World Trade Center and to place of safety.
The Search and Rescue dogs were honoured for their service to humanity at Ground Zero and the Pentagon following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
The PDSA Dickin Medal was instituted in 1943 by PDSAs founder Maria Dickin, to recognise animals displaying conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty whilst serving with the Armed Forces or Civil Defence Units during World War II and its aftermath. This is the first time the animals Victoria Cross has been awarded for activities outside World War II.
The PDSA Dickin Medals were presented to the dogs at a special ceremony in New York at Ground Zero on Tuesday 5 March. Speaking about the awards Marilyn Rhydström, Director General of PDSA, said: The tragic events of 11 September have shocked the world to its core. The enormity of the sudden human loss was almost too much to comprehend.
As a charity devoted to the care of animals in Britain, PDSA could not ignore the courageous work undertaken at that time by the many man and dog partnerships. The guide dogs overcame adversity to lead their owners to safety and the Search and Rescue dogs worked tirelessly at Ground Zero and the Pentagon to find life amid the ruins. The PDSA Dickin Medal is the highest honour Britain can bestow on any animal in time of conflict or in the face of extreme danger and we are proud and pleased to ward these dogs the animals VC.