Service Dog Memorial in Houston

Updated on May 5, 2020
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Source

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.

Inscriptions on granite regarding these dog heroes
Inscriptions on granite regarding these dog heroes | Source
Source
Floral wreath at the memorial
Floral wreath at the memorial | Source

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.

Story of the service dog Bretagne
Story of the service dog Bretagne | Source

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.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sculpture of Bretagne Sculpture of Bretagne
Sculpture of Bretagne
Sculpture of Bretagne | Source
Sculpture of Bretagne
Sculpture of Bretagne | Source

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.

Story of Eli at the Service Dog Memorial
Story of Eli at the Service Dog Memorial | Source

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.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Photo of Corporal Eli Corporal Eli View of EliPainting of Colton W. Rusk with his dog Eli by Ken Pridgeon, Sr. – USMC – Operation Enduring Freedom – from Orange Grove, TX – KIA 12-06-10
Photo of Corporal Eli
Photo of Corporal Eli | Source
Corporal Eli
Corporal Eli | Source
View of Eli
View of Eli | Source
Painting of Colton W. Rusk with his dog Eli by Ken Pridgeon, Sr. – USMC – Operation Enduring Freedom – from Orange Grove, TX – KIA 12-06-10
Painting of Colton W. Rusk with his dog Eli by Ken Pridgeon, Sr. – USMC – Operation Enduring Freedom – from Orange Grove, TX – KIA 12-06-10 | Source

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.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
View of memorial in HoustonView of memorial Service Dog Memorial next to Fallen Warriors Memorial
View of memorial in Houston
View of memorial in Houston | Source
View of memorial
View of memorial | Source
Service Dog Memorial next to Fallen Warriors Memorial
Service Dog Memorial next to Fallen Warriors Memorial | Source
Source

Sources:

https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/tomball/news/article/Military-service-dogs-to-be-honored-at-Fallen-11244371.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_Search_and_Rescue_Texas_Task_Force_1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergeant_Stubby

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogs_in_warfare


Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Peggy Woods

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      • Robert Sacchi profile image

        Robert Sacchi 

        5 days ago

        Definitely,

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        6 days ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Robert,

        I have learned much about museums, aircraft, and your part of the country from your articles. You are correct in writing that this is a perk of reading each other's posts on HubPages.

      • Robert Sacchi profile image

        Robert Sacchi 

        6 days ago

        Another advantage of HubPages. The articles can fill in blanks.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        7 days ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Robert,

        That story hits close to home since Bretagne came from around here. I am happy that I could fill in some details for you.

      • Robert Sacchi profile image

        Robert Sacchi 

        7 days ago

        I remember hearing on the radio when they announced the passing of the last 9/11 service dog. Thank you for giving the full story.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        2 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Rajan,

        Your comment speaks volumes regarding your appreciation of what service dogs do for us. They should have memorials honoring them like this one and others.

      • rajan jolly profile image

        Rajan Singh Jolly 

        2 weeks ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

        This service dog memorial read was an eye-opener. That a memorial is set up to honour these faithful canines speaks volumes about their skills in the area of service.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Pamela,

        It takes specialized training and receptive dogs for them to become successful service dogs. That meeting you attended sounds like it would have been an interesting one.

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        3 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

        We had a speaker come to our DAR meeting who talked about the dog training. I really like this memorial as the dogs serve in so many areas.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        3 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi FlourishAnyway,

        Dogs, whether service dogs or just our family pets, do have short lives. What they give to us during their short life is unconditional love, and in the case of service dogs, even more! I am glad to see the service dogs honored with these types of memorials.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        4 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Dora,

        I agree with you that our service dogs deserve their own memorials, and this one is a beauty. As to a second comment, this is the only one of yours that I see. Thanks!

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        4 weeks ago from USA

        This breaks my heart. I love animals. They are better than people. They give to us unconditionally and only want our love. They deserve the best.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        4 weeks ago from The Caribbean

        My first comment is not showing. If it does later, please delete one. Thanks for sharing the outstanding contribution of these dogs especially in time of national crisis. They deserve all their memorials and our thanks.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        4 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Ruby,

        So glad you liked this, but sorry it made you cry. It was so interesting finding out about Stubby when I was writing this article.

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        4 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

        Well,I'm sitting here crying like a baby. I watched the video about Stubby. I felt so proud of him, then his death really got to me. This is one of your best. The bronze statues are beautiful. The Service Dog Memorial is a place I would love to visit.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        4 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Mary,

        Like you, I also thought that this was very touching to honor service dogs. They do so much for us! Their handlers deserve praise also.

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 

        4 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        This is a very touching idea. Recognizing the services of dogs shows utter sensitivity to those who watch and care for us.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        4 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Bill,

        I am glad that reading this made your day. It is excellent that these loyal dogs are honored in this manner in many places. I did not realize until recently that the military dogs are assigned ranks like a Corporal and Sergeant.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        This is so cool! I have never heard of a memorial like this one. You made my day with this article.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        4 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Liz,

        While this memorial honors all service dogs, it is interesting to learn more about the two dogs, Eli and Bretagne, and what they did to help people in our country. Seargent Stubby also has a fascinating story!

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        4 weeks ago from UK

        This is a very well thought out memorial.

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