I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).
Dedicated to Service Dogs Everywhere
This Service Dog Memorial in Houston, Texas, honors explicitly two legendary local canines. However, it is to memorialize service dogs wherever they serve. It is right next to the Fallen Warriors Memorial in Cy-Champ Park. The location is 14500 Cutten Road, Houston, Texas 77069.
Cy-Champ Park is beautiful. Shady groves of tall trees stand alongside broad grassy areas. Nature lovers can stroll, power-walk, and otherwise exercise on pathways that run alongside Cutten Road. In the linear park is a small toddler playground and water fountains but no restrooms. The memorial for the Fallen Warriors and Service Dogs is in the center of the park. A small parking lot near the monument is solely for those visiting the memorial.
Upright granite segments tell the stories of Bretagne and Eli, the two dogs featured at this memorial. You can read the accounts below.
Golden Retriever Bretagne
Golden retrievers make fantastic and loving family dogs. We currently have a neighbor with a sweet-natured one whose name is Max. The golden retriever honored at this service dog memorial, whose name was Bretagne (pronounced Brittany), came from Cypress, Texas. Bretagne’s service was with the Texas Task Force One, which is an urban search and rescue team deployed in emergencies. This fantastic dog was also a valuable member of the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department.
9/11 and Bretagne
During the horrific aftermath of 9/11, Denise Corliss (a volunteer FEMA certified search worker) and her dog Bretagne went to New York City. In the second week after the attack on the Twin Towers, they diligently searched for any survivors. Sadly, there were none. However, Bretagne suddenly became a therapy dog comforting other search and rescue workers on the scene. She seemingly had a sixth sense as to what was most needed at the time. Bretagne died at age 16.
Look closely at the sculpture representing Bretagne. You will see some pieces that represent some of the debris left after the 9/11 attack. Be sure to click on the video below the photos of the sculpture to learn more about Bretagne and Denise Corliss. There is another sculpture of Bretagne in front of the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department. She was a much-beloved dog, particularly by her owner Denise.
If you wish to read more about Bretagne's life story, plus other heartwarming ones, there is a best seller book. Its title is My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts.
Marine Dog Corporal Eli
Etched in granite is the story of the service dog Eli and the 20-year-old marine, Colton Rusk. Sadly the young man lost his life in service to his country in Afghanistan. Eli accompanied his body back home.
Service Dog Eli
Just down the street from this outdoor Service Dog Memorial and the Fallen Warriors Memorial is the Fallen Warriors Memorial Gallery. Below you can view an image of Colton Rusk and his service dog Eli. Also, you can see many more fallen Texas heroes and hear about their stories from the artist Ken Pridgeon, Sr. who painted them.
Animals and Warfare
Since ancient times, many animals have served in warfare. In addition to dogs, some of them include horses and pigeons, among others. Their ways of service include transportation, sentries, messengers, trackers, search and rescue, and even mascots, to name a few.
Sergeant Stubby became well-known for his service during WWI. Remarkably, he was a stow-away! At the time, most of the service dogs came from our allies.
It was after WWII that the U.S. started utilizing dogs much more commonly during warfare. Veterinary support also became necessary, and dogs were now in almost all the branches of service.
Training of Military Service Dogs
I think that you will find the information etched into the granite walls pictured below interesting to know. It concerns the training of dogs used in the military and what happens to them now after they are retired.
Service Dog Memorial in San Antonio and Elsewhere
San Antonio has a Military Working Dog Teams National Monument at Joint Base SA - Lackland. The dedication reads as follows:
"Dedicated to all U.S. military working dog handlers and their beloved dogs who defend America from harm, defeat the enemy, and save lives."
There are numerous service dog memorial locations as well as war dog memorials. A small sampling of places include the following:
- U.S. Naval Base on Guam
- Hanover Park, Illinois
- South Lyon, Michigan
- Cleveland Metroparks, Ohio
- Mobile, Alabama
- Holmdel, New Jersey
- Barrington, New Hampshire
- Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
Honor and Service to Country
Many other memorials continue to increase in number across our land. The love between military working dogs and their handlers is strong. These special canines save lives and are a comfort to entire units of deployed servicemen and servicewomen.
Below are a few more photos taken of this very touching memorial.
- Houston Chronicle Newspaper: Service Dog Memorial in Houston
- Wikipedia: Search and Rescue Texas Task Force
- Wikipedia: About Sergeant Stubby
- Wikipedia: About Dogs in Warfare
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Peggy Woods