Amid the busy traffic of London’s Park Lane and Upper Brooke Street stand two weary mules, a proud horse and a loyal dog. These noble beasts are poised at the edge of Hyde Park in commemoration of the millions of creatures who died while serving the British and Allied Forces. The Animals in War Memorial honours mammals, birds and even insects who sacrificed their lives doing their jobs or following their natural instincts. The monument, designed by sculptor David Backhouse, intends the onlooker to follow the struggling mules into a ghostly wall of conflict. The active observer can then travel through a narrow opening to accompany the dog and horse on their journey into the future.
As well as commemorating animal selflessness, the Animals in War Memorial demonstrates man’s compassion towards the animal world. This calls us to reflect on what our furry, or not so furry, friends have done to earn the respect of humankind. Here are some examples:
Thor, a Pit Bull Terrier, rescued his masters from a house fire. The brave hound barked repeatedly to alert his masters to the blaze and even pulled their three month old baby, in her basket, to the front door.
Charlie, the black and white cat, saved her human surrogate mother from a hypoglycemic attack. The clever feline found her diabetic owner collapsed on the bathroom floor and woke the lady’s husband with insistent paws to his hand. While he administered the life-saving glucose, Charlie kept vigil.
Kerry, the chestnut-coloured horse, came to the aid of her farming owner who was being trampled by a cow defending its calf. While the cow butted the lady farmer to the ground and trampled on her, the heroic mare repeatedly kicked out at the beast until it moved away.
A Watusi calf prevented its cattle rancher owner from stepping on a snake by suddenly blocking the lady’s path and refusing to let her past. Although she initially tried to move the the caring creature, she finally noticed the dangerous snake.
Charlie the parrot assaulted two burglars as they tried to ransack a man’s home for his prescription drugs. The men pushed their way in through the front door and began beating Charlie’s owner. This provoked the fearless bird into pecking chunks out of them and forcing them to run away.