National Fire Dog Monument Heading to Washington
The 450-pound, 7-foot bronze statue honors accelerant detection canines and their firefighter companions.
A bronze statue of an arson dog and its firefighter companion is on its way to Washington, D.C., and will arrive June 28 at the American Humane Association’s headquarters oat 1400 16 St. NW. The sculpture, weighing 450 pounds and 7 feet tall, has made a 2,000-mile cross-country trip to honor firefighters, law enforcement officers, and arson dogs, according State Farm, which is sponsoring the tour of the first National Fire Dog Monument along with the humane association.
According to the schedule, the monument will arrive in Harrisburg, Pa. on June 26, New York City and Trenton, N.J., on June 27, and Washington on June 28.
The National Fire Dog Monument was sculpted by Austin Weishel, 22, a Colorado firefighter. It is titled "From Ashes to Answers" and was commissioned by Jerry Means, an arson investigation agent with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation whose arson dog, Sadie, received national attention for winning the 2011 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™ in the category of Law Enforcement/Arson Dog. (She was a model for the sculpture.)
Arson dogs, also called accelerant detection canines, are trained to indicate traces of petroleum products such as gasoline or lighter fluid that may have been used to start a fire. State Farm has provided funds for the acquisition and training of arson dogs in the United States and Canada, placing more than 300 arson dog teams in 44 U.S. states, three Canadian provinces, and the District of Columbia. "America's first line of defense is our nation's arson dogs, and we need to recognize their role in keeping us, our families, and our communities safe," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of the humane association. "The National Fire Dog Monument is a testament to the power and value of the human-animal bond. These animals are our friends, healers, our protectors, and aids, lending their special talents on behalf of us all. American Humane Association is so proud to share the story of these hero dogs with the larger community."
"This project puts an important spotlight on how committed men and women with the help of specially trained arson dogs work together to protect our nation and keep us safe," said David Beigie, State Farm's vice president of public affairs. "We're pleased to join the American Humane Association in supporting this effort, especially given that Sadie and her handler, Jerry Means, are graduates of the State Farm Arson Dog Program."