Canines’ contributions to war and soldiers’ lives are honoured at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum.
The National Veterans Memorial and Museum is hosting a series of events this month., man’s best friend will be featured prominently in a new exhibition and accompanying event.
Five life-size hand-carved wooden dogs, each depicting a war tale, will be on display. From October 20 to 24, the exhibit will be on display at the museum at 300 W. Broad St. in Columbus.
“It’s my method of retaliating. This is my way of thanking my six (high school) classmates “James Mellick, 74, the designer of the five dogs and around a dozen other hand-carved canines on exhibit at military-themed art and history institutions in the eastern United States, said, “Who died in service to our nation.”
The museum’s exhibition will coincide with a program called Pets for Vets, which will be the first time Mellick’s art has been shown there.
According to Andy Cloyd, director of the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, The free community event, which takes place on Oct. 20-22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., will offer adoption options from local shelters and animal welfare organizations.
Cloyd said National Pets for Veterans Day, which is observed on October 21, was the idea for Pets for Vets.
Cloyd explained, “We are constantly searching for new things to do for our veterans, so we decided to hold a Pets for Vets week in connection with the day.”
Service dogs, but not therapy dogs, are allowed inside the museum, and canines eligible for adoption. All three days will feature adoptable dogs, with each day promoting a different group or program. Any civilian with a service dog or therapy dog will be accepted to the program for free. But, nonmilitary visitors and nonqualifying civilians will need to pay $10 to see the museum’s other exhibits and exhibits.
The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Pets for Vets is designed to strengthen the bond between our museum and our veterans. Dogs are excellent wellness companions.
On October 20, the Franklin County Dog Shelter and Canine Companions will visit the museum, followed by the Columbus Humane Society on October 21.
The museum will host Buckeye Paws and Veterans Companion Animal Service from October 20 to 22.
Meanwhile, Mellick, a Milford Center resident, will have five wooden dog sculptures of the Wounded Warrior Dogs Mission on exhibit at the Pets for Vets event and for two days afterwards.
According to Mellick, the canines are shown with a human prosthesis as an allegory and metaphor of the wounds suffered by America’s warriors.
Mellick’s “K9 War Stories” series, an outgrowth of the Wounded Warrior Canines Mission, is represented by three of the five dogs on exhibit.
In 1976, Mellick began cutting wood. He began focusing on dogs nine years later.
“I began using my carvings to represent tales using a dog,” such as a dog on a hang glider, after the Challenger space shuttle tragedy in 1986.
But, he continued, the majority of the sculptures were intended to depict lighter imagery steeped in James Thurber’s humour.
He switched his attention after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, resulting in the “Wounded Warrior Dogs Mission” and the more recent “K9 War Stories.”
“Our warriors were returning as amputees with missing limbs (from the worldwide battle on terrorism),” Mellick added.
Mellick also noted that, unlike the Vietnam War, which he saw as a young adult, individuals participating in terrorism volunteered to enlist. In addition, many of those who fought in the Vietnam War were conscripted.
“I’m not a battle veteran,” says the narrator.Mellick stated, “I was in college and had a high draft number, but (my employment) is a method of paying my bills.” referring to his six classmates from In 1968, students from Wellington High School in Lorain County were murdered in the Tet Offensive. as well as the families of veterans who enlisted and were injured or killed in the war on terrorism.
Robson, a German shepherd, spent six years in the United States Air Force as a patrol and explosives-detection dog.
Mellick said he only communicated with Robson’s handler via Facebook when discussing the K9 War Stories series, but he was taken aback when the man’s wife contacted to notify him of the handler’s suicide.
He created Robson in honour of the veteran about a year later.
According to Mellick’s web description, “Lucca,” depicted with a medallion copy of the Dickin Medal, was trained to detect bombs for the US Marine Corps. Almost the course of his six-year career, Lucca accomplished over 400 missions. She narrowly escaped an IED detonation while on patrol in Afghanistan in 2012.
A sculpture titled “Lucca” depicts a K-9 that has completed 400 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Two of the five dogs on show at the museum were commissioned works for which he was paid but remained in the owner’s ownership.
Mellick’s only source of income is the money he receives from the museums that choose to exhibit his work.
“However, what I hear from the veterans is my true satisfaction,” he remarked.
The three “K9 War Stories” sculptures will be shown in his Milford Center studio, northwest of Columbus, after the National Veterans & Memorial and Museum.
Mellick carves the sculptures out of native woods, including oak, poplar, cherry, and walnut. After retiring in 2005, he continues to work as a full-time wood artist.
Mellick’s website, jamesmellick.com, has further information on his work.
Visit nationalvmm.org/events-programs/events-calendar/pets-for-vets for more information about the Pets for Vets program and the National Veterans Memorial and Museum.
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