5 Famous Dogs Around the World

There are some wonderful statues of dogs that are popular tourist attractions drawing visitors from around the world. They have all have wonderful stories which have earned them due recognition. If you are a pet lover, be sure to visit them if you’re traveling to any of these destinations.

Owney in the Postal Museum in Washington, DC

Owney was a mutt that accompanied American postal officials in the 1800s as they delivered mail around America, Canada and Mexico. He also traveled around the world on a U.S. mail ship clocking up more than 143,000 miles on the 132-day voyage. John Wannamaker, the postmaster general at the time, presented the dog with a special harness to display the mailbag tags relating to the mail he’d helped deliver and made him the official ambassador of the U.S. Post Office. It is reputed that Owney collected more than 1,017 tags in his lifetime. After he retired, he was involved in an altercation with a newspaper reporter who was “interviewing” him and died of a gunshot wound on July 11, 1897. 

American postal workers donated money for Owney’s body to be preserved by a taxidermist. Today, he still watches over a fascinating collection of more than 16 million items relating to America’s postal history at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum at 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE in Washington, D.C.

Balto in Central Park, New York City

This Alaskan malamute was the subject of a 1995 animated movie that tells the story of sled dogs that braved fierce Arctic weather to deliver a badly needed antitoxin to save a community from a diptheria epidemic. Balto actually visited New York and was present when his statue, designed by sculptor Frederick Roth, was unveiled in Central Park. A plaque below the statue reads:

“Dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the sled dogs that relayed antitoxins 660 miles over rough ice, across treacherous waters, through Arctic blizzards from Nenana to the relief of stricken Nome in the winter of 1925.”

It’s situated near the Tisch Children’s Zoo on East Drive at 67th Street.

Patsy Ann in Juneau, Alaska

Patsy Ann was a Bull Terrier who, to this day, is the official greeter in the state’s capital city. Although deaf from birth, she could “hear” a ship’s horn as it approached the port long before it was even in sight. The locals knew when a boat was coming in when she rushed down to the docks to be on hand for its arrival. Once, the harbor gave out the wrong information and the dog looked at the crowd gathering at the wrong quay and went off to wait at the correct one. A stray, she lived in the Longshoremen’s hall in the harbor where she died on March 30, 1942.  Fifty years after her death, the Friends of Patsy Ann Society commissioned sculptor Anne Burke Harris to create a bronze statue of the dog which now sits on the wharf greeting the hundreds of cruise ships that dock here every year. Postcards of the statue and other Patsy Ann memorabilia are popular take-home souvenirs from this city.

Greyfriars Bobby, Edinburgh, Scotland

The monument to this brave little dog who guarded his owner’s grave for 14 years has become a shrine to dog lovers wanting to pay homage to such canine loyalty. John Gray worked for the Edinburgh Police Department as night watchmen and  he and his dog were inseparable.

A Scottish law at the time decreed that all ownerless dogs had to be destroyed. So Sir William Chambers, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh (who also happened to be the director of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) paid for the dog’s license to be renewed annually and made him the responsibility of the Edinburgh City Council until he died. His statue stands on the corner of Candlemakers Row and the King George IV Bridge in Edinburgh. The little Skye terrier died on January 14, 1872 and is buried near his beloved master in the Greyfriars Kirkyard. The church also has a museum store selling postcards and souvenirs of the dog and is a 10-minute walk from the Waverley Train Station.

Hachiko in Tokyo, Japan

Every day, thousands of rushing commuters and tourists pass by a life-size bronze statue of an Akita named Hachiko in the busy Shibuya Train Station in Tokyo.

Hachiko belonged to Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor who boarded the train at this station headed for Tokyo University where he worked.  The dog greeted him every day on his return. In 1925, when the dog was two years old, Ueno died at work. The Akita kept up his daily vigil until he died. A statue was erected in his honor in 1934 and the dog was present at the unveiling. He died March 8, 1935.The statue is a popular meeting place for travelers in the city. His stuffed remains can be found at the National Science Museum of Japan in Tokyo.

-Photo Credit: From flickr by dominiekth


Tags: , ,

  • Print
  • email