DOGNY: America's Tribute to Search and Rescue Dogs
DOGNY -- America's Tribute to Search and Rescue Dogs is a public art initiative whose goal is to raise much needed financial resources for professional and volunteer Canine Search and Rescue organizations throughout The United States of America.
The symbol for the Tribute is the DOGNY dog--a German Shepherd Dog sculpted by artist Robert Braun and cast at the Meisner Gallery. The German Shepherd Dog was chosen because the breed is one of the most widely used in canine search and rescue. Their intelligence, size, agility and keen desire to please their handlers are all qualities that make them wonderfully suited for search, rescue and recovery activities in a variety of scenarios.
Over 100 sculptures were produced, and each was sponsored by a patron and painted by a commissioned artist.
Following the exhibition, many DOGNY sculptures were sold at auction in further support of American Search and Rescue Dog organizations. The auction at Sotheby's raised over $100,000 for SAR organizations nationwide.
A number of corporate sponsors helped to make the DOGNY project a success, including the IAMS Company, which sponsored more than 20 sculptures, Petco, and Federal Express, which transported the sculptures between the artists' studios and the storage warehouse.
Celebrities from the art world and beyond were involved with the DOGNY project. Artist Cindy Lass, famed for her "Celebrity Pawtraits," designed a statue, as did supermodel Heidi Klum. Generous support also came from AKC Member Clubs and organizations such as the Vietnam Veterans of America and Major League Baseball.
From no other quarter, however, did DOGNY receive greater support than in its host city of New York. The colorful canine statues were a visible reminder of the heroic acts performed by dogs and humans alike in the aftermath of September 11. The Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg declared December 16, 2002 "DOGNY Day" in the city of New York.
Dennis Sprung, Chief Operating Officer of the AKC and creator of DOGNY, summed up the project with these words: "The events of September 11 brought to the public's attention the valuable work that Search and Rescue teams perform on a regular basis. It is our hope that the DOGNY project will serve as a tribute to the tireless efforts of these canine teams and raise funds needed to help them continue their efforts."
Donations to the AKC Reunite Canine Support and Relief Fund are welcome.
Click here for a list of Search and Rescue Dog organizations that have already received donations from the American Kennel Club.