First memorial in France dedicated to “hero dogs”

The first memorial dedicated to “civilian and military hero dogs” in France was made Thursday in Suippes in the Marne.

A bronze stele, representing a Poilu from the Great War and his dog, pressed against each other, was symbolically consecrated in the heart of this Champagne village, one of the places of memory of the First World War.

The town is also home to the 132nd canine infantry regiment (RIC), the first military kennel in Europe.

The realization of this monument, one meter high and 1.2 m wide, entitled “Brothers in arms”, was named after the Franco-Colombian sculptor Milthon.

It was financed to the tune of 150,000 euros by the Société centrale canine (SCC), at the origin of the project, which benefited from the support of the Army and the municipality of Suippes.

This recognized association of public utility is responsible for managing the canine genealogical book (LOF, Book of Origins).

“Beyond this duty of memory”, the president of the Canine Central, Alexandre Balzer, intends to make this memorial the emblem “of the admirable work of our dogs in the service of man, from the dog visiting our hospitals to patrol dog in the mountains of Afghanistan”.

Soldiers from the 132nd RIC and their dogs attended the ceremony. Many dogs, mainly Belgian shepherds, but also German shepherds, wore the same medals on their yellow breastplate as their masters.

With 550 dogs, this regiment, unique in France, provides canine support during external operations, from Burkina-Faso to Iraq. Its teams also operate in mainland France, for the detection of explosives or narcotics.

If the most valiant fighting dogs are entitled to military honors, no canine hero has yet received the Legion of Honor to date.

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