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Credit demanded for search dog who found missing girl on Cheongju mountain

Calls are mounting for an official commendation for a military service dog who played a key role in finding a missing 14-year-old on Friday in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province.

The 7-year-old Dalgwan found the missing child at around 2:40 p.m. Friday on a mountain where she had first been reported missing 10 days prior on July 23.

“Dalgwan made gestures at me during a search around the area that day, and there I found the child, about 3 meters away,” said senior military officer Park Won-jin, who accompanied Dalgwan in the search patrol.

The child who is being treated at a hospital, is reported to be healthy and will be able to return home next week.

Dalgwan, who is being hailed as a hero, has recouped his reputation with Friday’s successful search.

Dalgwan found the missing teen on Cheongju mountain Friday (Yonhap)
Dalgwan found the missing teen on Cheongju mountain Friday (Yonhap)

Five years ago, Dalgwan went AWOL from an Army truck on the way to enroll at a recruit training center, only to be taken back a day later. He eventually passed his training and was officially enlisted as a search and rescue dog in the armed forces.

Since news broke of Dalgwan’s heroic act, people have been asking the Defense Ministry for a special promotion and order of merit for the canine.

But authorities said a promotion for Dalgwan would not be feasible, as service dogs are not ranked in the military. 

His chances for an order of merit are also slim.

The two only service dogs to receive an Order of Military Merit are Lintin, a Jindo who partook in defending Cheong Wa Dae against North Korean infiltrators in 1968, and Hunt, who lost his life during a landmine search in an underground North Korean infiltration tunnel in Gangwon Province in 1990, saving the lives of his squad members.

According to Dalgwan’s superiors, the hard worker has won the annual award for excellence for service dogs four times since 2014.

By Kim Arin (