This Jack Russell Terrier Was Once A House-Pet. Now He Has A Medal Of Honor

Last month, we told you about Patron, the bomb sniffing Jack Russell Terrier who has captured the world’s heart as he assists in the recovery efforts during Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. While it might feel a little silly to some to call a dog a hero, we’re not the only ones giving the plucky little Patron that honor. President Zelensky himself has officially declared Patron a hero and bestowed a medal of honor on this precious pup. 

To catch you up to speed, Patron has been helping Ukraine by detecting over 200 undetonated bombs. And if you’re following along, the last time we reported on Patron, his count was only at 150! He’s one busy canine. 


President Zelensky bestowed the medal of honor to Patron in Kyiv as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looked on. Patron was here for every minute of it, with his tail wagging in excitement all through the ceremony. It’s almost as if he knew he was receiving an honor! 

Zelensky called Patron “a small but very famous sapper.” He also stressed the importance of what Patron is doing. “A dog who helps clean our land from the traces of the occupiers, and who also helps teach children mine safety,” he said. “Due to the Russian invaders, this is now one of the most urgent tasks — to teach children to recognize and avoid explosive objects.”

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Patron’s owner, Mykhailo Iliev of the Civil Protection Service, received a medal of honor from President Zelensky, too. Iliev originally got Patron to be a pet for his son, but instead he was trained to sniff out gunpowder, then alert his owner to the danger. 

Not only had Patron been saving lives by sniffing out leftover “presents” from Russia, he’s been rallying people around Ukraine. The State Emergency Service of Ukraine dubbed Patron “the mascot of Chernihiv.” Patron has inspired fan art and has racked up over 240,000 followers on his official Instagram. It’s no surprise. The two-year-old pup is pretty darn cute!  

There’s also been a movement to put Patron on a postage stamp. Ukrposhta launched a poll to determine the next military-themed stamp – and one of the possible ideas features Patron! 

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many Ukrainians have stepped up and become heroes through their bravery and their commitment to defend their homeland. It’s only fitting that a dog would step up, too. Our hats are off to Patron! 

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