PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A rainy day on the North Shore is brightened by a $2,000 check presented by the Amen Corner to Police Memorial President Donna Best.

It will go toward a K-9 sculpture at the foot of the police officer’s statue, both created by sculptor Susan Wagner.

“We have actually had four K-9s killed in Allegheny County in the line of duty,” Sheriff’s Commander Best said. “Rocco was the last K-9 killed. And I think it brought to the attention not only of all the law enforcement community, but also the public in general that canines are part of our law enforcement.”

At her studio in Friendship, the sculptor shares photographs of Bandit, the K-9 German shepherd who posed for her.

“After he sniffed all around he decided he liked me so he came over,” Susan Wagner recalls. “He would brush against me, knock me over. He didn’t mean to.”

The sculptor’s work is thought provoking, even when she’s molding baseball players in bronze. Many Pittsburghers know her by the statues of Roberto Clemente and other legends at PNC Park.

The breathtaking grace and speed she captured in her statue of Roberto Clemente is a stark contrast with the second statue she created for the Pirates, depicting the muscular, raw power of Willie Stargell. A third statue captures the exuberance of Bill Mazeroski, after his historic home run sank the Yankees.

She sculpted Jackie Robinson, for his foundation in New Jersey, and dozens of inductees into baseball’s Hall of Fame. Yet, she admits she doesn’t follow sports.

“It’s not about baseball, it’s about the art,” she explains. “And it’s about the man and the human spirit in it.”

And, soon to come, the spirit of man’s best friend.

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