Patron the Jack Russell: Meet the Ukraine dog with a life-saving job sniffing explosives

Every country at war needs its heroes and this Jack Russell is one of Ukraine's - ITV News Senior International Correspondent John Irvine reports

He is a pedigree dog bought to enter shows, but Patron the Jack Russell has proved he’s made of the right stuff in a completely different field - minefields.

He’s a member of a explosives detection unit that is clearing re-taken Ukrainian territory, where retreating Russian forces planted landmines and booby-traps.

He and his handler and owner, Lieutenant Colonel Mykhailo, work in tandem with engineers equipped with metal detectors.

Patron has been trained to sniff out explosives, and he can find plastic anti-personnel mines that the metal detectors miss.

Mykhailo says he doesn’t know of any other Jack Russells doing this kind of work. Detection is normally the domain of Labradors or German Shepherds.

But Patron has an advantage over those breeds.

Most anti-personnel mines require at least 5kgs of pressure to set them off. Patron weighs only 4kgs.

According to his Wikipedia page, Patron has detected well over 200 explosive devices.

Patron's owner, Lieutenant Colonel Mykhailo, told ITV News he originally bought the Jack Russell as a birthday present for his son

He is a national hero, and a decorated one. Back in May, Mykhailo and the little terrier were at the Presidential Palace in Kyiv to receive a medal (Order for Courage third class) from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Pictures of Patron are everywhere in Ukraine. On stamps, on billboards and on pamphlets promoting awareness about unexploded ordnance.

When Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited Kyiv a fortnight or so ago, Patron was here to meet him.

Mykhailo bought Patron as a puppy three years ago. The little terrier was a father’s gift to his son. He’s ended up being a gift to the nation.

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