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  • Claire Jordan

Little Lion Paws

Rip was a little stray dog adopted by a Poplar ARP warden at the beginning of the London Blitz in 1940.

What it now takes months of intensive training to instil in brave service dogs seemed to come intuitively to Rip.

Without being taught or asked or told, he spent the whole War plunging into smouldering, tottering ruins, looking for people buried by what had once been their homes and possessions.

His little tail wagged almost constantly, but he would alert rescue workers to the presence of a buried body by speeding up the wagging.

He is known to have saved at least a hundred lives, as well as locating the bodies (sadly beyond help) of many more.

Though the War eventually was won, the east of London in particular lay still in terrible ruins, and Rip continued working in the wreckage of the East End right up til his death in 1946, worn out by his efforts to help.

A dauntless and lion-hearted little mongrel, he was awarded the Dickin Medal, the animal VC, in recognition of his enormous contribution to the War effort.

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