Ukrainian mine-sniffing dog awarded hero’s title

Patron, a small dog, has become a real star not only in Ukraine but also far beyond its borders. Externally Patron looks like a Jack Russell Terrier, but the dog is loved not so much for its cute appearance as for its unique talent – it can sniff out mines and other explosive “surprises” that the occupants have left in the Ukrainian land. Patron has had a lot of work lately, and is doing a brilliant job, for which it has deservedly received the title of hero.

Dogs have been used to search for mines since the Second World War. In peacetime, dogs help spot leaks of poisonous chemicals and explosive gases in mines. Dogs have an innate talent for distinguishing certain scents from background odours, but it takes professional training to sharpen these skills.

The olfactory centre in dogs is almost 40 times larger than in humans, which is why they can distinguish scents much better. That’s why Patron is so good at its job.

“Humans have never been able to develop anything to replace the ability of dogs to distinguish odours. No robot can do it as well as a dog after proper training,” says the director of K9, the US canine unit.

Despite the high level of responsibility at work, outside it Patron is an ordinary active dog of two years, whose favourite treat is cheese.

Dogs are used to search for mines all over the world and there are currently around 750 four-legged ones involved in such work.

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