Obi-Wan Kenobi, the fictional Jedi Master in the Star Wars movies, played the perfect mentor and friend to Luke Skywalker. In reel-life he was only keen on fighting against evil. Closer home in real life, a Metropolitan Police dog Obi, who has won many hearts for his bravery acts after having suffered a fractured skull during the London riots in August this year, received a special animal bravery award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) at the House of Lords on Tuesday.
The three-year-old German Shepherd was on frontline duties alongside handler PC Phil Wells in Tottenham when they were bombareded with bottles, bricks, street furniture and petrol bombs.
Obi was hit by a missile, thought to be a brick, above his left eye but showed no immediate signs of injury. He carried on working for several hours before blood was spotted trickling from his left nostril. Later, the canine was taken to a vet for assessment and the scan revealed a fracture to his skull above the left eye socket.
This police dog based at West Drayton Police Station in Middlesex, was relived from duty and given time-off to recover. He returned to work to complete light duties, but has just been given the all-clear to resume full service.
Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: "We are delighted to be able to highlight the amazing service given by police dogs such as Obi. We were relieved to hear he has made a good recovery and he is a truly rewarding winner of our special Animal Bravery Award."
When off-duty, Obi lives with Wells and his family in Surrey. Wells accompanied Obi to receive his award at IFAW's prestigious Animal Action Awards ceremony at the upper house of Parliament.
Wells said: "It was quite humbling to hear that Obi was to receive this award, in the same way that the public responded in the aftermath of the disorder and came out to thank us. It's really nice to have the work recognised and while Obi received a lot of attention, we are just one of many dog teams who go out on the streets every day. Obi has been keen to get back to work; he didn't like being left at home when I set off on my own as he loves it."
All eight police dogs working in his unit on the same night in Tottenham High Road suffered some degree of injury, from cut paw pads from broken glass and debris, to cuts to the body and broken teeth.