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Patron, bomb-sniffing dog who went viral, receives state honors from Ukrainian president

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy honored his smallest soldier Sunday – a famous little Jack Russell terrier named Patron. 

The bomb-sniffing dog received state honors at a ceremony in Kyiv for his wartime efforts of finding more than 200 explosive devices after being taught by his owner, Mykhailo Iliev of the Civil Protection Service.

Patron also helps children understand safety rules in areas with mine threats, as Russian forces had left buried land mines and bombs across large parts of the country, according to BBC.

“I want to award those Ukrainian heroes who are already clearing our land of mines. And together with our heroes – a wonderful little sapper Patron who helps not only to neutralize explosives, but also to teach our children the necessary safety rules in areas where there is a mine threat,” Zelenskyy said during Sunday’s ceremony.

Patron’s efforts went viral last month after he helped defuse dozens of explosive devices and supported Ukrainian rescuers during a Russian invasion, Zelenskyy said in the ceremony. The dog has become a sort of Ukrainian celebrity, even having his own fan art.

“One day, Patron’s story will be turned into a film, but for now, he is faithfully performing his professional duties,” Ukraine’s Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security center shared last month. 

Patron, who is 2 years old, works with State Emergency Service rescuers in the city of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine. The State Emergency Service of Ukraine also named the dog “the mascot of Chernihiv.” 

Patron met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, who was on an unannounced visit to Ukraine, on Sunday when he was honored. Patron adorably patted Trudeau’s pockets searching for treats. The SES said on social media the dog was “extremely pleased to meet a true friend of Ukraine, even though Mr. Trudeau did not find a piece of Patron’s favorite cheese.”

On Day 73 on the war in Ukraine, advances by Ukrainian forces in the northeast appeared to force Russians to move back toward the border. In Russia’s “Victory Day” parade, which celebrates the Soviet Union’s Second World War victory, President Vladimir Putin told troops they’re “fighting for motherland.” He continues to push the narrative of a “special military operation” without a full-on declaration of war.

By Scott Gleeson

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