A US military dog who played a starring role in the raid that killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi seemed oblivious to the praise Donald Trump heaped on him at the White House.
Conan, a Belgian Malinois, seemed much more interested in the head scratches he was getting from Mike Pence, repeatedly looking up at the vice president in search of more attention.
Mr Trump used a slew of adjectives to describe “ultimate fighter” Conan, who was injured when he was exposed to electrical wires in the late October raid while chasing al-Baghdadi at the terrorist’s compound in north-west Syria.
The president called Conan “incredible, brilliant, smart and very special”.
“So this is Conan,” Mr Trump said. “Right now, probably the world’s most famous dog.”
He bestowed a medal on Conan and presented the “tough cookie” with a plaque. First lady Melania Trump stood a few feet away.
The president said initially Conan was going to be muzzled for the appearance, but Mr Trump said he thought that would put the dog in attack mode.
“He’s not in a bad mood today,” he told dozens of reporters, cameramen and members of TV crews gathered in the Rose Garden. “So you’re safe.”
He said he asked members of the US special forces who met him on Monday if an unarmed man would stand a chance against Conan. He said the fighters, who could not appear in public, told him “No”.
“Conan is really a hero,” Mr Pence said, patting the dog on the head.