Animals have aided man in battle and disaster ever since ancient times. Medals of Honor have been bestowed upon men and women for heroism and bravery for decades, but never to animals.
Only the United Kingdom has a medal strictly for animals that have served above and beyond in war and disaster. The Dickin Medal. A medal which is equivalent to the Victoria Cross, and the Congressional Medal of Honor here in the USA. It’s the only one of it’s kind.
The Dickin Medal was instituted in 1943 in the United Kingdom by Maria Dickin to honor the work of animals in war. Maria Dickin was the founder of the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), a British charity that provides care for sick and injured animals of the poor. Maria established the award for any animal displaying bravery and devotion to duty whilst serving with the British armed forces or civil emergency services. The medal was awarded 54 times between 1943 and 1949 to 32 pigeons, 18 dogs, 3 horses and a cat for their heroism during World War II.