National monument honoring American service animals

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) – Dolphins patrolling naval waters; the carrier pigeons that carried messages during World War II; military pack mules, horses and service K9s; this one is for you.

“These animals have served us over the centuries,” said Theresa Brandon, president of the National Service Animals Monument Corporation.

Service animals continue to help people with disabilities, while serving dangerously alongside army managers and local law enforcement.

Navy veteran Theresa Brandon says she is working on installing a memorial on the National Mall, complete with life-size bronze sculptures, to honor all servicemen – and their human masters – throughout the American history.

“It is very important that we share with the United States what the national treasures of these service animals are,” she said.

The project is still in the planning stages, but Congress introduced a bill supporting the effort last year and organizers hope there will be more movements soon.

In the meantime, a passionate artist is hard at work.

“The concept is that all of these animal teams are sort of heading to a better place, on a bridge, to a place with some of humanity’s greatest quotes on the human-animal bond.” said sculptor Susan Bahary.

An earlier rendering of the National Service Animal Monument proposed by sculptor Susan Bahary. (Susan Bahary)

As an artist, Bahary is well acquainted with the animal form. She designed the country’s first war dogs memorial and her recent artwork, depicting fallen sailor John Douangdara and his dog Bart, is now a permanent feature of the United States Navy Memorial in Washington DC.

“It’s a lot about compassion, and I think we could use it more than ever,” Bahary said. “I think this is something we can all agree on.”

Pending congressional approval, Bahary hopes the memorial will be installed in the next few years.

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