There are so many humans and dogs out there that have risked their lives for us. These amazing dogs and people should continuously be honored for what they did. So, there is a traveling sculpture exhibit that showcases the wounded military dogs and those that worked with them. Many of these dogs had serious injuries and some even died to protect humans. James Mellick created sculptures of these dogs to help honor those that have served.
Mellick has created many different sculptures throughout his career. Similar to these military dogs, he has carved plenty of other wooden sculptures in the past, many of which were also of different animals including dogs.
These amazing sculptures are scheduled for a two-month run at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Riverside, Ohio. The exhibit will be featured there from November 8th, 2019 until January 21st, 2020.
“This exhibit shows the sacrifices dogs have made in battle, but it also shows the human sacrifice of their handlers,” said Mellick.
Mellick has carved a wide variety of different dogs for this exhibit. They are all made with different types of wood including cedar, walnut, poplar, and sycamore. The exhibit covers dogs from World War II all the way to the ongoing war in Afghanistan.
About the Dogs
One of the dogs that Mellick has chosen to sculpt is Lucca K458. Lucca was a German Shepherd that was service dog for the Marine Corps. She was trained to detect explosives. She served for a total of six years, and in that time, she completed over 400 missions.
In 2012, Lucca just barely survived a bomb blast. She ended up losing one of her legs in the process. In 2016, she was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals. In Mellick’s sculpture of her, she is proudly wearing that medal around her neck.
Another one of the sculptures is of Cooper K154, who died alongside her handler, Corporal Kory Wiens. Sadly, they came across a bomb hidden in a haystack in Iraq back in 2007. Cooper’s sculpture is carved with a football in her mouth and a dove on her back. The football symbolizes her playfulness during her life and the dove shows that she “earned her wings.”
“The dogs’ wounds are an allegory for all the human suffering that’s harder to talk about,” said Mellick. “People can relate to dogs in a way that’s hard for most people to relate to soldiers.”
Not only are these sculptures of beautiful dogs, but they also have a deep and serious message behind them. Mellick hopes these sculptures can help to open people’s eyes and he hopes the sculptures will properly honor both the dogs and humans that risked their lives for us. If you get the chance to view these sculptures in person, please check them out!
Featured Image: @JamesMellickArt/Facebook
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