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Davis Journal

America’s forgotten heroes

Aug 06, 2021 10:52AM ● By Becky Ginos

 LAYTON—Alongside the Vietnam Memorial Wall replica at Layton Commons Park stands a statue of a dog. It’s not just any dog – it’s a “War Dog.” 

“The dogs were used for narcotics or bomb detection,” said Linda Crismer who along with her husband Jim owned Mazzie, the model for the memorial. “Mazzie served in Kuwait for five years. We had him for five years and he died on April 21 of this year.”

  CWD (Contract Working Dog) Mazzie NDD (Narcotics Detection Dog) was the German Shepard’s official title, said Linda. The couple adopted him from Mission K9 rescue, an organization that brings War Dogs home.

“I’d been teaching at Bountiful Elementary for 40 years,” she said. “I used a lot of dog related things in my classroom and told the children about War Dogs. When I announced I was retiring the kids said ‘you ought to get one because you’ll have nothing to do.’”

So the Crismers looked into adopting through Mission K9 rescue. “It took about 15 months to get him,” Linda said. “They wanted to make sure he’d fit into our home. They check the dogs out mentally and physically. They’re very careful with how they adopt animals out.”

Many of the dogs are mistreated during the war and most never come home, she said. “Mazzie weighed 60 lbs and was starving to death. He was very traumatized. We had a trainer who gave us advice about helping Mazzie. We don’t know what happened to him but the trainer said he’s the most mentally damaged dog he’d seen.”

Mazzie became the favorite as Jim and Linda took him to parades and veterans celebrations. “The kids would holler, ‘Hi Mazzie,’” said Linda. “He touched the lives of everyone he met. One time we were at Cabela’s and a man came up to us and asked if Mazzie was a War Dog. Then he got on his knees and held Mazzie’s head and said, ‘Buddy I know what it’s like to be in a foreign country and have people hate you. But your mom and dad will give you a great life.’ We knew then that we were onto something.”

The statue came about when the Crismers took Mazzie to the Sounds of Freedom car show in Layton. “The veterans invited us to their meetings,” Linda said. “When they decided to do a memorial for the War Dogs they wanted Mazzie to be the model and asked us to run the project.”

The Crismers became so involved with War Dogs that they adopted another one, 8-year-old Geli who also served in Kuwait for four years. “We bring them home and give them a good life for the second half of their life.”

The memorial is dedicated to all War Dogs that served. “It is to honor especially those that served in Vietnam,” said Linda. “They say those 5,000 dogs probably saved 10,000 lives in Vietnam. There were 4,500 dogs abandoned. The statue is to honor and remember the dogs that did their job but never came back.”