New monument honours war contributions of animals
Published Saturday, November 3, 2012 4:50PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, November 3, 2012 6:29PM EDT
As the calendar turns towards Remembrance Day, humans took the opportunity to honour the war-time contributions of animals on Saturday.
The Animals in War memorial dedication at downtown Ottawa’s Confederation Park brought out hundreds of people and animals to recognize their service alongside Canadian veterans.
“I was in Korea for a year, we had canine units and dog handlers who would take the dogs out on patrol,” said founder Lloyd Swick.
“The dogs, with a tremendous element of smell, could detect if an enemy was present and the dog’s hair would bristle on its neck.”
“We don't realize how important animals are in war,” said Laureen Harper. “How much work they do, dangerous work - too dangerous for our men and women, so the animals did it and they didn't have a choice.”
Canada joins Australia and the U.K. in honouring service animals such as mules (who carried artillery) carrier pigeons, horses and search dogs.
“His main responsibility is explosive detection, but he also does tracking, criminal apprehension, avalanche rescue- so he's quite versatile,” said RCMP member Like Patenaude of his dog Cujo.
The statue of a medical dog with a first aid kit sits next to the South African War Memorial, marking the conflict where Canada sent 50,000 horses.
There are three bronze plaques in front of the statue to explain its significance, with a number of animal paw and hoof prints stamped in the concrete leading up to it.
The federal government said itcontributed $98,000 to create the memorial, a cost many animal advocates and veterans say is necessary to mark their contributions.
With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Natalie Duddridge
Laureen Harper is the honourary patron of the Animals in War Dedication Project.