National Monument for War Dogs will Honor Canine Soldiers of World War II and Beyond

| by Michael Allen

The 'U.S. Working Dog Teams National Monument' will be unveiled in Pasadena, California in two months. While some cities, cemeteries and military bases already have similar memorials, this is the first national monument of its kind.

This national munument will honor every dog that has served in combat since World War II, reports

In 2004, John Burnam, a 65-year-old veteran military dog handler and author of military dog handling books, along with two other dog handler veterans, formed the John Burnam Monument Foundation Inc.

In 2007, Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C introduced legislation authorizing for the monument. The bill was passed by Congress, signed by President George W. Bush. It was later amended and signed by President  Obama.

Burnam designed the monument, which depicts the a military handler with a Doberman, German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever and Belgian Malinois, the types of dogs that were used in wars.

The bronze military handler stands almost 10 feet tall and weighs 1,500 pounds. Each dog is about 5 feet tall and weighs 550 pounds.

The monument sculptor, Paula Slater, told that the complicated monument "is like giving birth to a baby, five of them."

The public will get a sneak peak at the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena, California on Jan. 1, when a floral replica of the monument will be used in a float. Burnam, dogs and handlers from every military service branch will ride on it.

When the float goes on display afterward at Victory Park, the real bronze monument will be unveiled next to it.

The bronze monument will go on tour in route to its final destination at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, where most of the nation's military's dogs are trained.