America has spoken, and one of the newest monuments in the nation’s capital has been voted its most popular. After a hard-fought final round, the National Fire Dog Monument took home top honors in the Washington Post’s “Monument Madness” tournament, besting some of the most worthy and famous contenders, including the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and other longtime favorites by popular vote. The monument, co-sponsored by State Farm Insurance and American Humane Association, the country’s first national humane organization, honors the work that accelerant detection canine teams (commonly known as arson dogs and their handlers) do to investigate suspicious fires in homes and businesses around the country.
The challenge followed a bracket format with 16 monuments around the Washington, D.C. area filling out the field. A seven-seed, the National Fire Dog Monument faced tough competition in each round before making its Cinderella run to the finals.
The National Fire Dog Monument is a life-size bronze sculpture depicting an arson dog handler gazing down at his dog after a job well done. Austin Weishel, the monument’s sculptor and a firefighter himself, wanted to capture the powerful link between people, animals, and the world we share. His work captures the connection between arson dogs and their handlers, who rely on one another to do their heroic work. The monument was unveiled in D.C. late in 2013 after an eight city cross country tour.
“The National Fire Dog Monument is unique in that it honors the roles of both human and animal heroes who work to create a better world, protect our families and our communities, and save lives,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane Association President and CEO. “We are also humbled that this monument won the hearts of so many when we were in the same company with such iconic American symbols as the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery’s National Seabee Memorial.”
The National Fire Dog Monument is on permanent display outside Engine Company 2 at 500 F Street Northwest in Washington, D.C., and is always available for public viewing.