What’s Endal Junior Doing?
This month, service dog Endal Junior (EJ) and his human Allen G. Parton attended a memorial for EJ’s mentor Endal at Ilford PDSA Animal Cemetery — the final resting place for over 3000 animals, including 12 animal heroes awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal for their service during World War II. This honor has been bestowed upon 24 dogs for rescue missions, guard duty, and devotion to their human companions, 32 pigeons who delivered critical wartime messages despite bad weather, bombs, and injuries, 3 horses who remained steadfast to their duty despite bombs, being showered with broken glass and debris, and being surrounded by flames during bombing, and one cat for disposing of rats on the HMS Amethyst during the Yangtze incident despite having been wounded from shell blast. EJ’s mentor Endal was awarded the PDSA Gold Medal for animal gallantry and devotion to duty “in recognition of his remarkable skills, his unique companionship and the unstinting devotion to duty that saved Allen’s life in so many ways.”
One of my favorite dog awards was to a pedigree pointer, Judy in 1946:
“For magnificent courage and endurance in Japanese prison camps, which helped to maintain morale among her fellow prisoners and also for saving many lives through her intelligence and watchfulness.”
Another amazing story is Brian, an Alsatian whose award was given in 1947:
“This patrol dog was attached to a Parachute Battalion of the 13th Battalion Airborne Division. He landed in Normandy with them and, having done the requisite number of jumps, became a fully-qualified Paratrooper.”
We all can probably think of ways how our own dogs have “saved our lives” — providing comfort during times of grief and despair, offering calm during times of frustration, anger, and stress, and knowing when to show those special looks and tricks they do to put a smile on our face, a chuckle back in our lives, and a better outlook on tomorrow. Dogs really are servants of the angels for those of us who walk on two feet.
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