Last November Paris was rocked by a series of coordinated terrorist attacks that claimed 130 lives. In turn the news of these attacks rocked the entire world. There was one more life lost that not everyone knew about -- a police dog named Diesel. In a display of solidarity Russia sent France a new puppy to replace their loss -- a German Shepherd named Dobrynya.
Image via The Telegraph
After those fateful attacks on November 13, 2015 (it was a Friday the 13th) the French authorities shifted into high gear and tracked down a suspect in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis. Five days later the French Resistance, Assistance, Intervention, and Deterrence unit (RAID), of which Diesel was a member, was dispatched to raid the home. Gunfire was exchanged with the suspect.
Image via MNN
After the gunfire ended Diesel and his handler entered the home to clear the rooms. When he entered the second room gunfire rang out again. Diesel was mortally wounded, but was credited with saving the life of his handler. Diesel, a seven-year-old Belgian Malinois, was due to retire the following spring after five years of service with RAID. He was the first dog employed by RAID to die in the line of duty. He gave his all.
Diesel's death touched many hearts and tributes poured in over social media. Russia was so touched by the loss of this heroic dog that they gifted Dobrynya, a German Shepherd puppy, to the French government. Their hope is that the puppy will one day be able to walk in Diesel's paw prints and be a sort of replacement member of the RAID team. The dog was handed over to the French Ambassador to Russia in early December 2015.
Dobrynya was named for Dobrynya Nikitich, an epic knight and hero in Russian folklore. The Russians consider him the ultimate personification of strength, kindness, loyalty, courtesy, bravery, and selflessness. It is hoped that the name will imbue to small dog with all of those qualities to aid in the fight against terrorism. The Russians sent the puppy as a sign of solidarity with France in the fight against terrorism.
The puppy has adjusted well to life in France and is reported to be healthy, playful, and has developed some notoriety for having a huge appetite. He has also apparently gotten involved with an older "woman." The word is that he has been often seen in the company of Ali, a four-year-old Belgian Malinios. His police training is underway and it is hoped that he will, indeed, be able to one day become a RAID team member.
Image via Sputnik International
Diesel has been posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal by the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals in the United Kingdom. This is the highest honor available to an animal and is the equivalent of a human receiving the Victoria Cross. The medal is awarded for "Conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty while serving in military conflict." This is the 68th time the medal has been awarded.