As Veterans Day approaches we check back with people creating a War Dogs Memorial in Colorado springs. The K-9 memorial would be located at Memorial Park, the group still needs more funding to make the memorial a reality.
A plot at Memorial Park is approved, the estimated cost for the memorial is $200,000. War Dog Colorado has raised $55,000 towards that goal, but the group continues to go out in the community and educate people about military and contracted working dogs.
Under the shadow of the Veterans Memorial in Colorado Springs, will be a memorial for K-9's that served our country. "We are now in the fund raising stage to be able to erect this memorial," said Ruby Ridpath, Co-Founder of War Dog Memorial Colorado, "that will permanently be there forever honoring the tens of thousands of war dogs that have served."
Military and contract working dogs serve for patrol purposes, explosive detection and drug detection. "When we deploy, they're the first ones that actually go out and about and actually find any explosives," said Melissa Burns an Air Force Academy K-9 Trainer.
The dogs can be adopted when they retire. Ashley Umstead used to work as a military dog handler, her dog medically retired after they deployed together in 2013.
"He got medically retired at the same time I promoted out of the K-9 section, being his only handler I had dibs, he had no choice he was coming home with me. It timed out perfectly, I got very, very lucky," said Umstead.
The war dogs are estimated to have saved tens of thousands of lives since World War II. the group was reminded at the Veterans parade downtown Saturday.
"Something happened that had all of us on the float literally in tears," said Ridpath.
A retired marine approached the war dog float, Ridpath said,"You could tell his eyes were teary and in a broken voice he yelled 'those dogs saved my life!'
"Makes you tear up a little bit when you hear it, we heard it yesterday at the parade," said Umstead.
"The tears welled up in our eyes, that's why we're honoring these dogs. So that mothers and fathers, sons and daughters can come home to their families," said Ridpath.
If you want to learn more about these K-9 vets and how you can help with the memorial head over to the War Dogs Memorial website: http://www.wardogmemorialcolorado.com/