COLORADO SPRINGS – The only permanent tribute to working military dogs in the country is one step closer to becoming reality in Colorado Springs.
‘War Dog Memorial Colorado’ is on its way to having a permanent home here in southern Colorado. The memorial was started over three years ago as a grassroots effort by Ruby and Wade Ridpath.
Wade is a Vietnam Veteran who served 12 years in the U.S. Navy and Ruby has been a member of the U.S. War Dogs Association since 2002 and a volunteer with the Mission K9 Rescue since 2013.
The couple discovered that military service dogs have saved thousands of soldiers lives since WWII, often going without any praise or recognition.
The couple said their journey with War Dog Memorial Colorado began when they adopted an 8-year-old retired Explosive Detection Dog that served 5 years in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Adopting Carlos changed our lives and inspired us to be a voice for our nation’s heroes with 4 paws and fur,” the couple wrote on the memorial website.
According to the ‘War Dog Memorial Colorado’ website, war dogs saved an estimated 15,000 lives in WWII, 10,000 lives in Vietnam and an average of 150-200 lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The City of Colorado Springs approved a space in Memorial Park for a larger than life memorial to honor these four-legged heroes.
”We would love it for the community to show your support for our nations working dog heroes, for their handlers, and for the building of the memorial. We’re a town of veterans,” said Rudy.
The memorial has chosen a sculptor which will begin construction soon. The memorial statue will be of a German Shepard and Labrador Retriever at work.
There are hopes to have an unveiling within the next year. For more information on the memorial or to send a donation, click here .