Daily News

Statue Honoring K-9 Rescue Units Comes to Museums

SPRINGFIELDGalaxy,’ a regal statue honoring the dedication and sacrifice of K-9 rescue dogs and their handlers, will be on view through the summer months at the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History through a temporary loan arrangement with the Springfield Kennel Club.

The display of Galaxy is a perfect complement to Better Angels: The Firefighters of 9/11, the exhibit of poignant firefighter portraits by Dawn Siebel that are also on display at the Wood Museum. That exhibit has now been held over until November by special permission from the artist. Galaxy is also a great fit with the ongoing Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs exhibit at the nearby Springfield Science Museum, which closes on May 15.

To help celebrate Galaxy’s arrival, Officer Timothy Flanagan and “Riko,” a German Shepard from Springfield Police Department’s K-9 unit, will be on the Quadrangle to greet visitors and answer questions (weather permitting). Flanagan and Riko’s appearance is taking place to help raise awareness of next week’s “Beers and Badges” fundraiser for Springfield’s K-9 unit on Tuesday, April 26 at Pizzeria Uno’s in downtown Springfield.

Conceived by the American Kennel Club as a charitable public-art initiative, DOGNY: America’s Tribute to Search and Rescue Dogs, was launched shortly after 9/11 as a way of bringing attention to the valuable work done by canine search and rescue teams on a regular basis. The Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and the attacks of September 11, 2001 brought these efforts to the forefront as startling and poignant images were replayed day after day of valiant attempts to search for and recover the many victims of these massive tragedies. DOGNY not only pays tribute to the heroic efforts of rescuers, handlers, trainers, and of course the canines themselves; it seeks to bring awareness and help fund the extensive costs associated with the training and care of these special animals.

The world-renowned wildlife artist Robert L. Braun was commissioned by the AKC to create an original bronze sculpture of a champion German Shepard. Over one hundred fiberglass replicas of Braun’s sculpture were then created and painstakingly painted by a number of talented artists. Following their initial display, a number of the works were then auctioned off, and so far the program has raised more than two million dollars. The Springfield Kennel Club was among the first to underwrite one of the sculptures, which was named ‘Galaxy’ due to the celestial symbols that adorn the dog’s face and coat.