Indian Army Dog ‘Zoom’ of the 28 Army Dog Unit has been posthumously awarded the Mention in Despatches award. Zoom died on October 13 last year after sustaining two gunshot injuries in Operation Tangpawa in Anantnag, Jammu & Kashmir.
According to the Indian Army, Mention in Dispatches recognises distinguished and meritorious service and acts of gallantry in the armed forces which are not of a sufficiently high order to warrant the grant of gallantry awards,.
Zoom was being treated for his injuries at 54 Advance Field Veterinary Hospital (AFVH) where he breathed his last. Zoom was responding well around 11:45 am on October 13, 2022, when he suddenly started gasping and collapsed. Zoom was aged two years at the time of his death.
The army on October 9 received information that two terrorists were holed up in a house in J&K’s Tangpawa area in the Anantnag district launched a cordon and search operation. One of the terrorists was reportedly injured. The Army decided to send in Zoom to retrieve weapons for the terrorists and draw them out of hiding.
Zoom went into ‘stealth mode’ and crept up on the terrorists. However, the terrorists discovered his approach at the last moment and fired on him. Zoom was hit by two bullets. But he managed to successfully destabilise the two terrorists, who were then neutralised by Army personnel.
A soldier in the operation was also injured in a blast from a grenade hurled by the terrorists, who realised that they had been found.
Last year, Army dog Axel, from the 26 Army dog unit, received the Mention in Despatches for laying down his life in a counter-terrorism operation, ‘Rakshak’, in Jammu & Kashmir in July 2022. He was shot down by terrorists during an eight-hour operation, in which another elite Army dog, ‘Bajaj’, was also involved.
Both ‘Zoom’ and ‘Axel’ belonged to the Belgian Shepherd or Malinois breed.