\r\nA courageous police dog, who sustained near-fatal stab wounds when apprehending an armed suspect while on duty, is to receive the PDSA Gold Medal \u2013 known as the animals\u2019 George Cross \u2013 for his bravery and devotion.\r\n\r\nPolice Dog Finn, who is now retired from service with Hertfordshire Constabulary, almost died from the stab wounds he sustained. His actions protected the life of his handler, PC Dave Wardell, who was also injured in the incident.\r\n\r\nThe formal presentation of Finn\u2019s PDSA Gold Medal will take place on Sunday 6 May, at the charity\u2019s PetLife \u201918 festival at Cheltenham Racecourse: the first ever public presentation of such an award.\r\n\r\nFinn\u2019s story has captured the hearts of the nation and inspired a campaign to change the law around the protection for service animals.\r\nFinn\u2019s Story\r\nOn 5 October 2016, Police dog Finn and handler police constable Dave Wardell from for the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Dog Unit were called to an address in Stevenage. The dog unit was instructed to give chase to a suspect who was evading arrest and who was believed to be armed with a baton or stick.\r\n\r\nDuring the pursuit, PC Wardell released PD Finn with a command to detain the suspect. The suspect attempted to jump over a fence but Finn kept pace and was able to take hold of his leg, foiling his escape.\r\n\r\nPC Wardell explains, \u201cI joined Finn, grabbing his collar and straddling his back to give him support as he held the suspect. In a split second, I saw the man lunge at Finn\u2019s side with a weapon. As he pulled away, I saw a 10-inch blade, covered in Finn\u2019s blood.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe man then lunged at me with the blade but Finn, despite being seriously hurt, grabbed hold of the suspect and stopped him from landing a fatal blow. My hand was cut in the struggle and Finn\u2019s head was sliced open.\r\n\r\n\u201cDespite suffering two serious stab wounds, Finn\u2019s grip on the suspect remained \u2013 pulling at the suspect\u2019s leg to stop him from jumping the fence.\u201d\r\n\r\nFinn\u2019s constant grip enabled PC Wardell to wrestle the assailant to the ground, where he eventually dropped the weapon. Other officers joined the team to assist and Finn was rushed to the nearest vet for life-saving treatment.\r\n\r\nPC Wardell continues; \u201cFinn\u2019s determination, even after he\u2019d been seriously hurt, was absolutely faultless. He definitely saved my life that night and stopped an armed criminal from posing a threat to other officers or the public.\r\n\r\n\u201cI am bursting with pride that Finn is receiving this award \u2013 he is a true gem and embodies everything that is special about police dogs in this country. He is my best friend and I owe him my life.\u201d\r\n\r\nPC Wardell also needed medical treatment for a stab wound he sustained to his hand.\r\n\r\nFollowing the attack, Finn made a miraculous recovery and was back on active duty just 11 weeks later.\r\n\r\nPDSA\u2019s director general, Jan McLoughlin, said: \u201cFinn displayed outstanding devotion that night, both to his duties and to his handler. For his actions, Finn is an extremely worthy recipient of the PDSA Gold Medal.\u201d\r\n\r\nChief constable Charlie Hall, who, alongside the Police and Crime Commissioner nominated PD Finn for the award, said: \u201cOur Police Dog teams perform outstanding work and are a great source of pride for the Force. Finn\u2019s story highlights the vital role that these animals play in our society and the dangers that our officers face on a daily basis. I am thrilled that Finn\u2019s actions are being recognised.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Dog Unit is one of the teams which make up the Joint Protective Services (JPS) Command for the three Counties. ACC Paul Fullwood who leads JPS said: \u201cThis award highlights the brilliant work our police dogs deliver across Beds, Cambs and Herts and UK police forces. The extreme danger faced by Finn and his efforts to protect PC Dave Wardell is just amazing and the award is so well-deserved. I am so pleased and proud that Finn has been recognised by such a prestigious award\u201d.