Pet Cemetery: MWD memorial garden given new life

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ricardo Sandoval

One might miss it if they were driving too fast, but right by the Lady of the Lake, there is a K-9 memorial garden for deceased working dogs at Eielson.

Prior to this summer, the memorial garden had lost its shine and perhaps had gone forgotten. That was when 18 year old Annabelle Smith, daughter of an Eielson Airman and a Girl Scout for 13 years, decided to take on a renovation project as a part of a Gold Award project, one of the highest awards in the Girl Scouts.

“I wanted to make sure that the outcome would make the space a more inviting and welcoming area that would honor the dogs, and enhance the community as a whole,” said Smith. “Thankfully, due to the hard work of both myself and the volunteers, we were able to do just that.”

Taking on a project such as this wasn’t without its challenges. The designing process which included a new archway and walkway layout was changed several times before the final product. However, Smith found plenty of support off base including donations from local greenhouses and hardware stores. She found even more support on base.

“Staff Sgt. Matthew Bizzarro from the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron helped tremendously by assembling a team to dig mounting holes for the archway and Master Sgt. Randall Vander Woude helped me make the bench and the archway,” added Smith. “Security Forces and Metals Tech helped me greatly during my time completing the project.”

The Airmen assigned to the 354th Security Forces Squadron K-9 unit were essential in helping Smith get this project started. The team helped remove weeds, trees, and logs that had infiltrated the cemetery.

“Once the project was completed, I felt a great sense of pride in knowing that I had brought recognition back to the K-9 Working Dog Cemetery,” explained Smith. “I just want to thank everyone who helped make this project a success, and I hope that this memorial serves as a reminder for our military working dogs.”

The memorial honors the working dogs who have served in the U.S. armed forces and can be visited right off Transmitter Road near the Lady of the Lake.