Written by Gary Simeone Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
Almost everyone has heard the expression; a dog is a man’s best friend. These great animals guard, protect and shower people with their affection and undivided attention. They love unconditionally in good times and in bad. The strength of the bond between man and canine was put on display at the Mineola Library on Saturday, May 11 in JoAnne Raskin’s, ‘War Dogs’ exhibit.
“I started this project in 2007 as a tribute to military canines,” said Raskin. “I had been corresponding with dog handlers who were in Vietnam and Iraq and I wanted to pay tribute to these great animals that so often go unrecognized.”
Raskin, of Queens, said she started on her project by placing a tribute to the war dog, ‘Sarge’ at the Bideawee Pet Memorial Park in Wantagh. Raskin was fascinated by how many soldiers’ lives Sarge saved in World War II and started researching and corresponding with handlers for more information on other war dogs.
She expanded her project and set up her first exhibit in 2008 at the Eisenhower Park War Monument. A few months later, she held an exhibition at the American Air Power Museum in Farmingdale and that set the ball rolling.
“I held numerous exhibitions at places like the Cradle of Aviation, Nassau County Supreme Court Building, Queensboro Community College and St. John’s University,” said Raskin. “[Recently], I placed my exhibit at the Pet Expo at Nassau Coliseum.”
As to what fascinates her most about all the dogs who served alongside soldiers on the battlefield, Raskin said it was the number of lives that the dogs saved.
“For example, over 4,000 dogs served in Vietnam and they saved well over 10,000 soldiers’ lives during that time. Out of all those dogs, only 200-300 came back alive.”
This was Raskin’s first time showing her exhibition in a library and she said she would look to continue displaying her ‘War Dogs’ exhibit at other area libraries.