Meet Patron, Ukraine’s Mine-Sniffing ‘Hero’ Dog
From bomb-sniffing to cattle-herding, is there anything dogs can’t do?
By: Kirsten Brooker | April 27, 2022 | 818 Words
The war between Russia and Ukraine is making headlines around the world. However, Patron, the bomb-sniffing dog, is lightening the mood a little bit. His impressive skills are getting social media attention, and he is winning over the hearts of his followers, military personnel, and the pyrotechnicians he works with.
Patron, a two-year-old Jack Russell, works for the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SES), helping to detect explosives around the city of Chernihiv. Together, over 600 de-miners and the adorable pup have located more than 54,000 unexploded mines, missiles, and artillery.
Landmines are often put in warzones – they are explosive devices left on the ground, waiting to cause injury to people or vehicles that might accidentally come into contact with them. De-miners and pyrotechnicians work to safely remove these dangerous devices, and dogs can help in sniffing out the mines’ locations. Other dangerous military equipment can be left behind, too, such as bombs or unexploded weapons.
To detect these weapons, Patron was trained to identify the smell of gunpower. When he sniffs gunpower in a certain spot, he alerts his trainer, Misha, who then deactivates the weapon.
Sometimes, Patron is lucky enough to get a cheese treat and belly rubs after a hard day’s work. “Patron just loves cheese,” says Misha. “He is a very active dog that likes to have a good run with other dogs and then, of course, sleep.”
The hardworking pooch has even earned a following on social media, with some fans drawing his portrait. The SES responded to the posts, saying, “This motivates us not to give up, no matter how hard it is, to keep the bar high and to go into battle with new strength, knowing how many people are still waiting for help and how many people believe in us.”
Ukraine isn’t the only country where dogs have helped to clear the land of weapons. Afghanistan credits nearly half of its mine-free land to the dog de-miners working the area. Shahzada, the team leader at Afghanistan’s Mine Detection Dog Centre, said, “It takes a day to clear just two square metres by manual detection, but just minutes by mine dog.”
Detecting landmines with the help of dogs is not only quicker, but also much safer, with fewer accidents occurring when canines are helping out.
Other Jobs for Dogs
Humans rely on dogs for many important jobs, even some dangerous ones. Our four-legged friends help people with medical conditions, and assist police officers and the military. It is amazing what dogs can learn. Let’s check out some other neat stuff humans rely on dogs to do.
One of the most popular doggy jobs is to serve people with disabilities. Those who are blind, deaf, have impaired mobility, or suffer from seizures or other medical conditions can appreciate the company and aid of their service pooch.
Dogs can also be of use to people who suffer emotionally due to traumatic experiences or illness. It is not uncommon for pups to provide therapeutic relief to those in nursing homes or soldiers who may be suffering from distress. Service animals are well-trained to provide the sweetest affection and comfort to their patients.
The police use dogs as well. Canine officers protect their human partners and assist them in chasing down criminals. And just like the dogs used to find mines, these can be trained to sniff out drugs or other illegal substances. Often known as K-9s or detection dogs, the most common breeds used by police are German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois.
Search-and-rescue efforts are improved using dogs and their fantastic sense of smell and hearing. The four-legged rescuers help in finding avalanche victims, and tracking people lost in the wilderness. The dogs are highly trained to complete the daring retrievals.
Even farmers put these intelligent animals to work. For example, herding dogs work with all different types of livestock to coax the farm animals into a specific area. Often, these doggies are born with a natural skill to herd, while others require training to complete the work.
Fascinating Dog Facts
- Dogs sweat through their paws.
- Each dog has a unique nose print; no two are the same.
- There are 18 muscles in dog ears.
- Dogs can be left or right-handed (pawed).
- Dogs can be as smart as a two-year-old child.
- Most dogs do not like hugs.
- Dogs use whiskers to see in the dark.
- Dogs can help their owners live longer.
Update: On May 9, 2022, Patron received an award from Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky for “dedicated service” in the country’s army.