DOGNY: America's Tribute to Search and Rescue Dogs
Springfield Kennel Club Shines Spotlight on DOGNY in New England
One of the critical factors in the success of The AKC's DOGNY project has been the support of dedicated dog clubs throughout the country. No sooner had the Board of the AKC elected to endorse the charitable program did Delegate Dr. Thomas Davies announce the groundbreaking news that Springfield Kennel Club would sponsor a DOGNY sculpture. Springfield Kennel Club is not only the first all-breed club sponsor of the program; it was the very first organization of any kind to come forward with a financial show of support.
The Springfield Kennel Club chose for its sculpture a design created by Robert L. Braun entitled "Galaxy Dog." Braun, the sculptor of the original model for DOGNY, painted his vision of outer space on the dog, complete with glowing stars and glistening planets. Galaxy Dog graced the entrance of the New York City Police Department headquarters at One Police Plaza for the duration of the 2002 exhibit.
At the close of DOGNY's New York City display period, Galaxy Dog headed for home in Springfield, where it embarked upon an impressive series of appearances. On March 5, 2003, the sculpture became the showpiece of the "Reigning Cats and Dogs" exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield, where it will remain on display through June 15, 2003. A special moment came on Friday, March 7, 2003, when "Galaxy" opened the Springfield Spirit basketball game at the Springfield Civic Center before a crowd of enthusiastic fans. The sculpture was accompanied by a Color Guard and several representatives from regional Canine Units, including the Springfield Police Department, the Hampden County Sheriff's Department, and the Massachusetts State Police. After remaining on the floor for the National Anthem, the sculpture and its escorts received a standing ovation from the crowd. At halftime, representatives of Springfield Kennel Club greeted the public and took time to educate fans about DOGNY and the sport of purebred dogs. In thanking those who took part in Galaxy's debut, the Club issued the following statement on their web site: "The Springfield Kennel Club...wishes to express our heartfelt gratitude to the K9 teams who volunteered to provide Galaxy's escort and colorguard. We hope that you felt what we did ... that your selfless and necessary work does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. Galaxy symbolizes you and all you do in law enforcement and search and rescue. Thank you for letting us honor you."
"Galaxy" will preside over the New England Spring Classic Cluster, three days of all-breed dog shows and obedience trials at the Mallary Building of the Eastern States Exposition Center hosted by the Springfield Kennel Club, the Pioneer Valley Kennel Club and the South Windsor Kennel Club on April 18-20, 2003. More excitement is in store for the Springfield Kennel Club and its sculpture when "Galaxy" joins a special exhibition at Mystic Seaport, in Mystic, CT from June through September, 2003. Dubbed "The Museum of America and the Sea," Mystic Seaport will present a special exhibit called "Sea Dogs!" which will focus on dog's contributions to man at sea. Additional plans for the sculpture at more fall events are currently in progress.
Reflecting on the Club's participation in the DOGNY program, Springfield Kennel Club President Susan L. Cohen stated: "I cannot express how much opportunity this project has given us. We are now participating in several community events, not only educating folks about SAR dogs but the many aspects about purebred dogs. It's just been terrific!" The American Kennel Club commends the Springfield Kennel Club for its unwavering support of DOGNY and its exemplary dedication to the welfare of purebred dogs and their owners in the New England community.