Rip the Rescue Dog was a World War II rescue dog with an extraordinary talent for finding people buried amidst the debris after bombing raids.
Rip, who was a mixed-breed terrier, was discovered by air raid warden Mr King after a severe bombing in Poplar. The two struck up a friendship, and Rip’s gift soon became evident as he instinctively started sniffing out casualties hidden beneath the rubble. As Mr King noted, “It wasn’t a question of training him. They simply couldn’t stop him.”
The heroic hound became the unofficial rescue dog for the Southill Street Air Raid Patrol in Poplar between 1940 and 1941. He saved the lives of over 100 people, and inspired authorities to train more search and rescue dogs to serve during the war.
Rip was awarded the Dickens Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, in 1945. He wore it on his collar until his death in 1946. He was buried in the PDSA Cemetary in Ilford, Essex.