Maria Dickin, the founder of the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals, created the Dickin Medal in 1943 to honor animals' bravery in war. This bronze medallion is awarded to animals displaying "conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty" in any branch of the Armed Forces or Civil Defence Units. The medal, considered the “animal’s Victoria Cross,” has been awarded 65 times since 1943, including to 32 pigeons, 18 dogs, 3 horses, and a cat during World War II. The most recent recipient, Treo, a black Labrador, received the award for his heroic actions in Afghanistan.
The Dickin Memorial Animal Hospital, named after Maria Dickin, continues her legacy by providing veterinary care to sick and injured animals.