As Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, we're hearing heartbreaking stories of Ukrainians determined to defend their country.
One of these Ukrainian heroes is small — really small. He's mostly white with some tan markings, and he wears a tiny bulletproof vest to keep him safe as he sniffs out bombs, landmines, and other explosives with his sensitive hunting nose. His name is Patron, and he's a bit of a national hero at the moment.
Patron is a Jack Russell Terrier who's been trained to sniff out explosives for the Ukrainian army. We often think of larger breeds like Labradors and German Shepherds as the sort of dogs used in the military, but Patron's small stature and keen nose makes him an ideal asset in the war zone.
Jack Russell Terriers were originally bred to bolt foxes, groundhogs, badgers, and otters from their dens. They're trained to sniff out where burrowing creatures live, but leave the ground untouched so that hunters can then flush the prey. These capabilities have been bred into these pups for centuries, and they're exactly what soldiers need when it comes to locating buried explosives.
JRTs also have lots of energy and require plenty of training and stimulation to keep their minds sharp. While a war zone isn't a fun place for anyone, for dogs like Patron, it's just another day at work. State Emergency Service Of Ukraine recently shared information about Patron online, and now he's being hailed a hero for sniffing out more than 90 explosive devices so far in the war.
"News from Patron! Our militant dog — the mascot of Chernihiv pyrotechnicians continues to serve!" they wrote on Facebook. "Since the beginning of the war, he and SES sappers have cleared almost 90 explosive devices. Thank you, my friend, for your tireless work!"
The 2-year-old dog is being credited for saving countless lives by detecting devices like landmines, which pepper the landscape and cause unspeakable injuries and deaths. Russia has been accused of committing war crimes, including using illegal destructive weapons like cluster bombs and thermobaric weapons against civilians.
We still don't know how many civilians have perished in the Russian invasion to date, but we do know that military pups like Patron are working hard to keep those numbers as low as possible.
Patron is the ultimate good boy! Domesticated dogs are a gigantic part of our lives, helping their human companions in more ways than we can count. We're sending peaceful thoughts to all effected by the war in Ukraine.
Share this story to thank Patron for his lifesaving efforts.
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