Remembering Animals in War

World War Two veteran Lloyd Swick was on the Hill last month talking to MPs about his monument to animals who served in war. Swick’s Animals in War Dedication Project was inspired when he saw the Animals in War Memorial in London. He asked himself, “Why does Canada not have a similar memorial?”  From horses who moved field guns in World War One to the glow worms kept in bottles and used in dark trenches, Swick wanted the non-human contribution to wars remembered. The project costs $160, 000 and Swick is still looking for donations. David Clendining is the sculptor who made the monument. He has been sculpting since the ’70s and his work is all over Ottawa’s Confederation Boulevard. The animal war memorial consists of three parts. One section honours horses, another mules and the third dogs. Clendining notes the mules were based on photos. For the horses, he said he went out to places near his home in Ottawa. But “the dog is 90% my old German Shepard, Lucky.” The making of the monument has taken Clendining nearly one and a half years and went through three versions. Footprints of the three animals depicted have been placed on the ground leading up to the memorial. Laureen Harper is the project’s honourary patron and NDP MP Peter Stoffer has been a big supporter. It was at a Remembrance Day service in 2009 that Swick turned to Stoffer, not knowing he was an MP, and mentioned the importance of honouring war animals. Stoffer agreed and told him the National Capital Commission was holding hearings for commemorations and suggested Swick pitch his idea. The memorial was officially unveiled in Ottawa on Nov. 3.

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