Man's Best Friend is Honored with Exquisite Sculptures of Wounded Veteran Dogs at the Canton Museum of Art

Sculptures in "Wounded Warrior Dogs" Salute Four-Legged Heroes


Contact: Rob Lehr — Director, Marketing & Communications
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  March 25, 2016, Canton, Ohio —
Soldiers come in all shapes and sizes but some American heroes have not been acknowledged as they should. That’s the sentiment of James Mellick’s exquisitely carved wooden memorial sculptures that will be displayed in the exhibition “Wounded Warrior Dogs: Celebrating America’s K-9 Heroes” from April 7 – July 17, 2016 in the Canton Museum of Art’s lobby. Admission into the Museum lobby is free and open to the public.

Thousands of trained military dogs have saved lives during wars, and this special project was developed as a tribute to these important heroes. The Wounded Warrior Dogs Project is a traveling exhibition intended to be a symbol of the sacrifice and reveal the canines’ same wounds as their human companions in battle. The personal narrative of rehabilitated dogs is intended to raise awareness and focus the attention on the sacrifices and needs of wounded veterans. The seven sculptures are both humbling and healing, representing a special bond between the soldiers and canines.

“I am moved by the physical and emotional sacrifice by the men and women of the United States military,” said Mellick. “Contemporary medical technology and triage in the field has more veterans surviving with injuries that would have been fatal in previous wars. In my limited and small way, I want to pay tribute to the soldiers who served with great sacrifice by creating the sculptural allegory of wounded warrior dogs who were the soldier’s best friend and companion in battle.”
The beauty and craftsmanship of the exhibition is not intended to ignore the intensity or suffering of war. Mellick’s intent is to emphasize the nobility of those who sacrificed life, limb, and spirit in service to their country.

“The long process of designing, laminating, carving, and finishing the wood means that I have to see the idea or statement worth the time and significance. I have to work with a certain sense of conviction,” said Mellick.
Mellick’s work was previously featured in the exhibition “Allegory in Wood,” held at the Museum in 2012. His work is held in numerous museum collections, including the Ohio Craft Museum in Columbus. His sculptures intricately designed, engineered, and exquisitely crafted.

The “Wounded Warrior Dogs” exhibition is on view in conjunction with the traveling exhibition “Art & the Animal,” which will be featured in the Museum galleries April 26 – July 17, 2016, and the “K-9 Heroes Portrait Project,” also on view in the Museum lobby April 7 – July 17, 2016.

Media Images: High-resolution images can be downloaded via the provided link below. Additional images for publication are available by contacting Rob Lehr, 330.453.7666, ext. 102, or email with a request.
Image Captions:
  1. Wounded Warrior Dogs numbers 1 and 2 are Belgian Malinois, the dog breed favored for recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The service ribbons on the collar reflect the conflicts in which they served.
  2. The German Shepherd, Wounded Warrior Dog Number 3 has the Vietnam war service ribbon and K9 corps insignia from that era. The Missing in Action logo speaks to the 4,000 German Shepherd dogs that were abandoned and left behind at the end
  3. The Chocolate Labrador, Wounded Warrior Dog Number 4, has the Iraq war service ribbon on its collar. The Labrador is often used for sniffing out bombs and other explosive devices.
  4.  “The Way Back”, Wounded Warrior Dog Number 5, ended up being the most expressive of the group.  He has a huge scar that has been stitched and one eye swollen shut as he makes his way back to base.
  5. Wounded Warrior Dog Number 6, the sleek Doberman with a stump and no prosthesis represents the wounded veterans, the “greatest generation” from the Second World War. The Doberman was a dog that was used in the South Pacific reflected by the service ribbon. This may represent the veteran that has gone on to his reward. A bird or a dove on the back of my animals represents a “spirit guide.”
  6. Wounded Warrior Dog Number 7 may come as a jolt because the viewer has to believe that there is a dog in the box wrapped in Old Glory.  This sculpture was inspired by a video showing a soldier’s flag-draped coffin being unloaded from a plane.
  7. James Mellick meets his creation, Wounded Warrior Dog Number 4.

About James Mellick
James Mellick earned his Master of Fine Arts degree from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (1973) where he received the Graduate Award for Excellence in Art and Design. Faculty positions include Colby Sawyer College, NH, 1973-78; Houghton College, NY, 1978-81, Calvin College, MI, 1989-91 and Cedarville University, 2008 to present. He has also taught workshops at Penland School of Crafts, Southern Illinois University and several universities in the Ohio valley region. 

About the Canton Museum of Art
The Canton Museum of Art (CMA) is one of Ohio's premier museums for an exceptional visual arts experience. CMA is recognized for powerful national touring exhibits; dynamic CMA-original exhibits; an unrivaled Permanent Collection of American watercolors and contemporary ceramics; and innovative education outreach programs, in-Museum classes, and workshops. CMA is one of only two Stark County museums accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. For more information, including hours, exhibits, classes, and special events, call 330.453.7666, visit
Location: The Canton Museum of Art is located in the Cultural Center for the Arts, 1001 Market Avenue North, Canton, Ohio 44702. Free onsite parking is available around the Museum. Call 330.453.7666 for information and directions or visit our website at