Don't stop retrieving.
Man’s best friend has monuments praising his loyalty and heroism worldwide, from the USA to Serbia. Many were beloved pets; others served in the military or helped pioneer an industry. Don’t miss these famous dogs on your travels.
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WHERE: New York City, New York
In Central Park, a statue honors a sled dog in a daring 1925 journey from Anchorage, Alaska to Nome in winter to bring life-saving medicine to the town during a diphtheria epidemic. Balto was one of many dogs on the almost 1,000-mile journey, braving blizzards and minus 40 degrees temperatures, but the husky led the sled team on the last 53 miles. Balto went on a national tour, and his statue was erected the year of his feat.
WHERE: Fort Benton, Montana
A bronze statue of a sheep dog stands in tiny historic Fort Benton. After Old Shep’s owner died and his body was shipped to his family by train, the loyal dog met trains four times a day, even in winter, hoping his owner would return. As his fame spread, railroad employees fed and sheltered him, and many came to greet and photograph him, but he rebuffed all attempts at adoption. A sign spells out his name in capitals at his burial site.
WHERE: Edinburgh, Scotland
This statue of a Skye Terrier who reportedly mourned for 14 years by the grave of his master was erected atop a granite pedestal in Greyfriars churchyard in 1873, the year after the dog’s death. Two movies and books have been written on Bobby, who was buried next to his owner, a police night watchman who died in 1858. His collar and bowl are in the Museum of Edinburgh.
WHERE: Washington, DC
A well-traveled mixed-breed who accompanied postal employees delivering mail by train throughout the U.S. from 1888-97, Owney began hanging around an Albany, N.Y. post office (perhaps as a mail clerk’s pet) and progressed to following mail bags loaded onto trains. The Tacoma, Wash. postmaster even sent him on a 113-day trip to Asia and Europe in an ad campaign for the city. A taxidermied Owney, wearing many tags and souvenirs of his travels given to him by Railway Mail Service staff, is a popular exhibit at the National Postal Museum. A postage stamp was issued in his honor, and grade schools nationwide use him as a geography teaching aid.
INSIDER TIPYou can pick up a stuffed toy Owney in the museum gift shop.
WHERE: Gander, Newfoundland
A grenade-sniffing dog who saved the lives of Canadian soldiers during World War II is honored by a bronze statue in Gander Heritage Memorial Park. A veteran of the Royal Rifles of Canada, who fought along with the dog, who was killed in the Battle of Hong Kong, attested to his bravery at the 2015 unveiling of his statue. A former family pet who lived near the airport in Gander, Sgt. Gander was posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal, the United Kingdom’s medal for military animals.
WHERE: Tokyo, Japan
An Akita owned by a Tokyo University professor, who always accompanied him to Shibuya Train Station on his way to work, continued to wait for 10 years at the station after his adored master died. The statue of Hachiko, erected inside the station for Tokyo’s popular Shibuya entertainment and shopping district while the dog was still alive, is a popular meeting spot. Hachiko is so famous in Japan, another statue of him stands in the Tohoku region’s Akita Prefecture, where the breed began, and a book was written about him. His body is preserved in a Tokyo museum.
WHERE: Sydney, Australia
A rare example of a talking dog monument, this charming statue of Queen Victoria’s favorite pet, begging on his hind legs, stands, very suitably, outside the Queen Victoria Building. “Hello,” says the Skye terrier, “Because of the many good deeds I have done for deaf and blind children, I have been given the power of speech.” Named for the fabled Scottish whisky, Islay thanks those who toss a coin in the wishing well in front.
WHERE: Washington, D.C.
The most famous First Dog (and the only pet in a Presidential memorial), Fala, a black Scottish terrier, is honored with a statue in the FDR Memorial. Fala often accompanied President Roosevelt on official trips, and helped in the war effort. As president of Barkers for Britain, a group that collected donated supplies for Britain during World War II, he signed letters with a paw, and donors received a dog collar inscribed with “Fala Helped.” Fala was also the subject of two movies and a comic strip.
WHERE: Juneau, Alaska
Patsy Ann was deaf bull terrier who sensed when ships were about to arrive in Juneau. She would and race to the port to alert locals, before the ships were visible, then greet the crew and visitors, Patsy Ann is immortalized with a statue near the steamship dock. The stray lived in the dock workers’ hall until she died in 1942.
Dogs in Space
WHERE: Los Angeles, California
Portraits of dogs in space at the Museum of Jurassic Technology range from Laika, the first living being to orbit the earth on the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik II in 1957, to Strelka, one of the first two dogs to survive a space mission. Laika died in space; a puppy born to Strelka was a gift to Caroline Kennedy from Nikolai Kruschev. Ten more Russian dogs were sent into space, trained to cope with turbulence, noise, and weightlessness (all mixed-breed strays from Moscow, accustomed to harsh temperatures and conditions), before Yuri Gagarin was the first human sent into space in 1961.
WHERE: Lake Tekapo Village, New Zealand
A sheep-herding dog statue honors the collie’s contributions to farming in the South Island’s Mackenzie region in the 19th century, “without the help of which the grazing of this mountain country would be impossible.” On the shore of Lake Tekapo, an hour’s drive from Mt. Cook, it’s next to the aptly-named Church of the Good Shepherd.