COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — Nine years ago, artist and Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC) alumnus Christopher Morrell was asked to create the War Dog Memorial on Centennial Campus. On Thursday, a rededication event by the school’s military and veteran program brought it back to life.
“It gave us an opportunity in the welding department, the automotive department and the technical department to get involved and realize what military working/assistance dogs have done for the military,” said Paul DeCecco PPCC, director of the military and veterans program at KRDO.
Two of the dogs featured in the War Dog Memorial were modeled after real dogs that worked with some of the PPCC veterans.
The ceremony also had a special meaning for the original artist. Morrell said his father, a recently deceased veteran, was largely the inspiration for the original concept for the artwork.
“My dad was definitely a huge help throughout the process, helping me sketch it out and design it,” Morrell said.
Following the rededication ceremony, attendees were treated to a special demonstration by the 69th Military Police Detachment at Fort Carson.
At the ceremony, Siggy, a crowd favorite, was the main war dog on display. His handler demonstrated what makes war dogs so crucial on the battlefield for the military.
“There is no piece of equipment or machinery that can beat the rate of effectiveness of our dogs, especially with IEDs on the battlefield,” the staff sergeant said. Senior dog handler Corey Meeks told KRDO.
Officials say a dog’s sense of smell is about 50 times better than that of an average person, meaning it can detect IEDs before they explode and injure or kill soldiers.
According to Staff Sgt. Meeks, ground patrols can only uncover 50%, but with dogs the detection rate jumps to 80%, a statement backed by the Department of Defense.