On Wednesday, a 7-year-old Belgian Shepherd police dog named Diesel died in a raid targeting the the alleged mastermind of the Paris attacks, and the news quickly took over social media, with the hashtags #RIPDiesel, #JeSuisUnChien (“I am a dog”), and #NotAllHeroesAreHuman trending worldwide.
The dog was part of pre-dawn raid on an apartment in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, targeting the alleged mastermind of the attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud. According to the New York Post, Diesel was sent into the suspected apartment first to assess the situation. Then, a woman, a cousin of Abdelhamid Abaaoud who was wearing an explosive vest, blew herself up, killing herself, the dog, and another terrorist.
French police tweeted the news: “Diesel, a seven-year-old Malinois, police dog for RAID, was killed by terrorists in the ongoing operation.”
They also tweeted a photo of Diesel with the message, “Assault and explosives search dogs are indispensable in the missions of the operators of the raid.”
Shortly after those tweets, the world began mourning the dog along with the human victims of the attacks, taking to Twitter to share Diesel’s story and pay tribute to the dog who gave his life fighting terrorism.
“It’s a little like losing one our colleagues,” said one police handler, according to the Telegraph.
PETA France also chimed in, according to the Post, with Isabelle Goetz of the organization saying, “Diesel claimed no religion, posed no threat and owned no weapons – and yet she paid with her life to ensure the safety of the French nation.”
The hashtag #JeSuisUnChien recalls the aftermath of the terror attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January, when “#JeSuisCharlie” swept Twitter. Interestingly, the BBC tracked down the person who first used the hashtag #JeSuisUnChien, and the user says he originally created it to not to honor the dog but as a witty statement mocking the trend of “Je Suis …” hashtags in France.
“Every trouble has a hashtag like #JeSuis,” he told the BBC. “If an old guy has something wrong, it will be #JeSuisOldGuy.”
However, even though he created the hastag in jest, he stands behind the people using it.
“The dog is the human’s best friend,” he said. “It was an innocent. So a lot of people were disgusted by this.”
Here are some of the Twitter messages of those honoring Diesel:
RIP Diesel. Hope you’re happy now, in Dog’s heaven, surrounded with good guys like Lassie & Rintintin.#JeSuisChien
— Axy (@SoVeryAxy) November 18, 2015
— Jasmien DS (@McMieny) November 18, 2015
— 1finekitty (@1finekitty) November 18, 2015
#JeSuisChien RIP, little sweet dog… God will hug you forever in his arms
— Filippo Cervellera (@Tecnophil) November 18, 2015
You did well, Diesel. #JeSuisUnChien
— Elisa Aquino (@Acqu93) November 18, 2015
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