The non-profit group O.L.A.E. (Off-Leash Area Edmonds) is excited to announce that they will be working with the Edmonds Veterans’ Plaza Planning committee to create a memorial honoring dogs that have helped our Military and/or have died while in service. The Veterans Plaza will be located outside the Public Safety Complex. Currently, funding for the plaza is nearly complete and donations and information can be located Edmonds Veterans Plaza.
O.L.A.E. felt it was necessary to honor dogs as they have been in the military dating back to 1700. In WW I, the Military War Dogs were called Ambulance Dogs and were trained to find wounded soldiers in the No-Man’s Land. In WW II the dogs were trained in many disciplines including scout, tracker, sentry and messenger. Today, they are used for many more jobs such as detecting bombs, snipers, ambushes, weapon caches and variety of jobs relating to their sense of scents. At the height of the wars in Afghanistan, it was reported that more than 2,500 dogs were in service. The selflessness of the loyal dog and their ability to want to hunt makes these bonds wonders of nature. It has also been proven that dogs also help Military Veterans’’ returning from war as bonding pets for a variety of mental and physical ailments.
To date, there are only a few Cities and States that recognize K-9 in their Veterans’ Plazas or even K-9 Veterans Day, March 13th. So we are pleased to bring forth our K-9 Memorial and we will be working with Master Sculpture Lena Toritch.
As Ms. Toritch’s Veterans’ Memorial Statues website indicates: “Master Sculptor Lena Toritch creates bronze Veterans Memorial Statues that honor the bravery and personal sacrifice of our American Military. As an immigrant to this country more than 20 years ago, Ms. Toritch’s own fierce American patriotism fires her passion to create monuments that are accurate in every detail and reflect the spirit, pride and courage of the US Military. These custom military memorial statues are portraits of real soldiers and their K-9 partners who served with honor and distinction. The SOF K-9 memorials pay tribute to a unique breed of military dog. Ms. Toritch has created several life sized, bronze statues of military dogs including a Belgian Malinois dressed in full combat gear.”
All donations are tax-deductible and checks should be made out to O.L.A.E. and mailed to OLAE P.O. Box 1562, Edmonds WA 98020. Please note it's for the memorial fund.
O.L.A.E. became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in August 2005, to fulfill our mission to educate park users, steward and fund-raise to maintain the off-leash dog area in Edmonds and be a loyal voice in the community for dogs. The small group of volunteers work closely with the City of Edmonds Park and Recreation Department and during the past 11 years, tons of yard debris has been removed to bring the park to the pristine gem that it is today. The group also has sponsored seven Eagle Scout Projects and has a very popular agility course and a small dog area. Each year, O.L.A.E. donates over 500 pounds of dog food to the local food bank and in 2013 provided $2,000 to the new City of Edmonds’ K-9 Police Officer.