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OBE for Animals is Unveiled

10 June 2014

UK - PDSA, which famously bestows the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross – the PDSA Dickin Medal – has this week cast the first die for a brand new animal honour, the PDSA Order of Merit, the animal equivalent of an OBE.

Like the OBE, the PDSA Order of Merit recognises distinguished excellence through service to society.

The PDSA Order of Merit joins our other animal awards, the PDSA Dickin Medal and PDSA Gold Medal
The PDSA Order of Merit joins our other animal awards, the PDSA Dickin Medal and PDSA Gold Medal.
Click to enlarge.

PDSA runs the world’s most prestigious animal awards programme. The charity already honours animals that save human life when their own life is in peril through the PDSA Dickin Medal, instituted in 1943, which recognises acts of gallantry in military situations; and the PDSA Gold Medal, the animals’ George Cross, instituted in 2002 which is its non-military counterpart.

The PDSA Order of Merit has now been added to the charity’s animal awards programme to ensure that all other extraordinary animal contributions to society can now be formally honoured.

This unique award will recognise animals that display outstanding devotion to their owner or wider society above and beyond normal companionship. It will also recognise animal acts that symbolise their special relationship with humans. It is expected that potential recipients could include service and civilian animals, such as those in the police force, assistance dogs or medical detection dogs.

The recipients of the first ever PDSA Order of Merit award are to be announced imminently.

Commenting on the new award, Jan McLoughlin, PDSA Director General, said: “By creating the PDSA Order of Merit we can ensure that extraordinary animal contributions to society can now be properly recognised and honoured, however and wherever they occur. Their contribution to society is broad, be it pets doing something extraordinary, police dogs protecting the public, to dogs visiting the elderly in nursing homes providing therapy and companionship.

“Valuing the wonderful and varied roles animals play in society has always been a significant part of our work at PDSA. As well as the companionship they bring to millions, animals serve and protect us in so many ways. This is why we have created this important new medal.”

The first of the new medals, measuring 38mm in diameter, with a distinctive silver appearance, and weighing around 35 grams, has now been struck in London by court jewellers and medallists Cleave & Co, in readiness for an inaugural presentation, to as-yet undisclosed recipients.

PDSA is the UK’s leading veterinary charity. With 51 pet hospitals across the UK providing vital care for over 470,000 animals a year, the charity is a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of pets and their owners. Since it was established in 1917, PDSA has provided 100 million free treatments to more than 20 million pets in need.

As well as providing vital treatment and care for hundreds of thousands of pets and improving animal welfare, PDSA is also dedicated to recognising the contribution animals make in society and has the most prestigious animal awards programme in the world.

PDSA’s Animal Awards Programme now comprises:

PDSA Dickin Medal – the animals’ Victoria Cross
Awarded to any animal displaying outstanding courage or devotion to duty in saving human life in a theatre of military conflict.

PDSA Gold Medal – the animals’ George Cross
Awarded to any animal instrumental in saving human or animal life when its own life is in jeopardy or through outstanding devotion to duty.

NEW PDSA Order of Merit – the animals’ OBE
Awarded to any animal which merits recognition for outstanding acts of devotion and represents outstanding examples of the special relationship that exists between animals and humans.

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