A proud organization of American veterans is saluting a group of brave canines from another era with its DOGNY statue in the American Kennel Club's tribute to the heroic Search and Rescue dogs of 9/11.
On Monday, November 4, at the Manhattan VA Hospital, the Vietnam Veterans of America unveiled "Military Dog," a DOGNY sculpture designed in honor of the heroic dogs that served in the war in Vietnam.
"The dogs that served the military in Vietnam saved a lot of lives," said John Rowan, New York State Council President for the VVA. "We want everyone to remember them and their courageous work, too." Rowan said that 280 dogs lost their lives in service in Southeast Asia, and the remainder of the dogs that served had to be euthanized due to fears of disease and readjustment considerations.
Artist Michael Cuomo of White Plains, NY decorated the dog in camouflage fatigues, helmet and other gear. Rowan, Pat Toro, Jr., president of the Queens VVA Chapter, and Bob Boissell, public relations officer of the chapter, participated in the ceremony at the New York Veterans Hospital, which included the laying of a wreath modeled after the South Vietnam Service bars. Several veterans who were on the hospital grounds for appointments also stopped by to be a part of the salute.
The Vietnam Veterans Association purchased the statue outright and will rotate it amongst the New York area veterans facilities in the future.
David Frei of the American Kennel Club was on hand to speak with media, and said that the project has more than 100 statues on display in various locations around New York City To date, the project has raised over $2 million for volunteer and professional Search and Rescue Dog organizations. Many of the DOGNY sculptures will be auctioned at Sotheby's and on Sotheby's.com on December 16.