Dog memorial reaches fundraising goalDonations still needed for upkeep of off-leash dog park
The nonprofit group OLAE (Off-Leash Area Edmonds) reports that it has surpassed its initial fundraising goal for its memorial honoring service dogs at the future Edmonds Veterans Plaza.
OLAE co-founder Diane Buckshnis said the group has now raised almost $9,000. Those interested in contributing can go to http://www.gofundme.com/29zf2n8 or the OLAE website at www.olae.org.
OLAE is always looking to raise funds to maintain the dog park at Marina Beach Park, which is about $4,000 a year to maintain.
The organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year is its annual Halloween Howl, which is Oct. 15.
OLAE’s memorial is intended to honor dogs that have assisted military operations or have died while in service. The Veterans Plaza will be located outside the Public Safety Complex.
All donations are tax-deductible and checks should be made out to O.L.A.E. at P.O. Box 1562, Edmonds WA 98020.
Donation can also be made at www.olae.org.
Buckshnis said OLAE wanted to honor dogs as they have been in the military dating back to 1700. In World War I, military war dogs were called ambulance dogs and were trained to find wounded soldiers in the so-called No Man’s Land.
In World War II, dogs were trained in many disciplines, including scout, tracker, sentry and messenger.
Today, they are used for many more jobs, such as detecting bombs, snipers, ambushes, weapon caches and variety of jobs relating to their sense of scents. At the height of the wars in Afghanistan, it was reported that more than 2,500 dogs were in service.
“The selflessness of the loyal dog and their ability to want to hunt makes these bonds wonders of nature,” Buckshnis said. “It has also been proven that dogs also help Military Veterans’’ returning from war as bonding pets for a variety of mental and physical ailments.”
OLAE has commissioned Lena Toritch for the sculpture. Toritch has spent years working with groups on creating life-sized bronze statues of fallen military individuals and/or dogs.
The life-size bronze statue in Edmonds will be a tribute to the German shepherd dogs dressed in combat gear.
Each year, OLAE donates more than 500 pounds of dog food to the local food bank, spends $2,000 on plastic bags for users, and in 2013 provided $2,000 to the new City of Edmonds’ K-9 police officer.