Sculpture honoring military working dogs unveiled in new tribute

Susan Norris, an artist with a record of creating emotionally charged pieces, recently started a new project that centers on a significant aspect of everyday life—the relationship between people and their canine companions. This time, however, she focused on dogs’ roles in warfare.

Norris has created a new sculpture named “My Hero, My Friend”, which is made of bronze and is the size of a real dog. It depicts a military working dog wearing a Purple Heart and mourning the loss of its human companion.

According to a press release, Norris expressed her fondness for animals but stated that the relationship between a military dog and its handler is much deeper.

The sculpture created by Norris is intended to pay tribute to the valor and commitment of military working dogs to their human handlers, evoking emotional reactions from those who see it. The sculpture will be placed in Veterans Memorial Park in Trophy Club, Texas, located within the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.

Norris expressed that it’s touching to witness the emotional reactions of people who view her sculpture, often resulting in tears.

Throughout the history of the U.S. military, military working dogs have been known by different names, such as K-9 Corps and “war dogs.” In different times of conflict, these dogs have performed various roles, including serving as guards, messengers, mascots, and scouts. These details are from an Army book on military veterinary services.

The U.S. military increased its efforts to build a canine program as operations in Afghanistan and Iraq intensified.

The book mentioned that due to the increased threat of improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan and Iraq, mine detection training was resumed. Dogs were then deployed in forward teams, served with airborne units, and were transported by helicopters when necessary.

Another sculpture honoring combat canines was already made before Norris’ sculpture. In 2008, the US Congress approved the Military Working Dog Teams National Monument, which was unveiled in 2013 at Joint Base San Antonio — Lackland.

According to the book, “Humans are constantly relearning that technology cannot match many of the senses and inherent abilities of canines, and they also recognize that dogs continue to remain faithful even as equipment and conflicts change around them.”

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