Sit. Stay. Roll over.
Of the many tricks that folks have taught their canine companions, few compare to the tricks that hard-working service dogs pull off every day, whether they are helping the blind to see, watching for seizures or saving lives.
To honor service dogs, a bronze memorial statue will soon be unveiled at the Foothills Animal Shelter.
The memorial came about, in part, because former Golden Rotary Club president Steven Jensen was being mauled, voluntarily, by police dogs. As his son’s packmaster (Boy Scout Troop 130 Golden), Jensen said he would use his connections as chief deputy district attorney in Jefferson County to set up K-9 demonstrations for the boys. As part of those demonstrations, he would don a padded, protective suit, and get ”sic’d.”
”The kids would just love that,” Jensen said.
When the time came for Jensen’s son, 15-year-old Grady Jensen, to pick a community service project as part of his work to become an Eagle Scout, he said he definitely wanted to do something involving animals. The family, which lives near the site of the old Table Mountain Animal Shelter, had a strong connection to it, and even adopted the family dog there. In 2010, the shelter changed its name to the Foothills Animal Shelter and moved to its newly built location off 6th Avenue.
”We started brainstorming: What could we do for the new facility?” Jensen said.
The answer they arrived at was landscaping. Grady, no doubt recalling his dad’s many maulings, decided to add honoring service dogs to the project.
Broad support from Golden Rotarians helped the project take shape. The sculpture was crafted by local artist Pat Madison, who blogged his progress on the Golden Rotary Club website. The molded sculpture was cast in bronze by Jim Dickson at Century Bronze, while the site engineering and stonework were done by Golden Rotarians Bob Neukirchner and Jim Halderman.
The finished statue, a 4-foot-tall German shepard, will stand in the middle of four plaques that each share the story of a local service dog, including a police dog, a seeing-eye dog, and a standard poodle named Raven, a co-worker of Jensen’s.
”We use Raven here at the DA’s office to do interviews with child victims and witnesses. The dog helps put them at ease and get them through the interview process,” he said.
Foothills Animal Shelter spokeswoman Jennifer Strickland said Grady Jensen and the Golden Rotary put in a tremendous amount of work into the memorial, which she said will be a welcome addition to the grounds.
”It’ll be another way for us to educate the public about how impactful animals can be,” she said.
The unveiling and dedication for the service dog memorial will be at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 12, in the shelter courtyard, 580 McIntyre Street near 6th Avenue.