Category Archives: famous dogs

Famous Dog Statues Around the World

dog statues falaBy Laurie Darroch

Statues around the world reflect history, legends and great people or events. Famous dogs have also made their mark in the art of statuary, with symbolic statues ranging from simple dedications to dramatic memorials of cultural heritage. Our faithful canine friends have greatly impacted the lives of mankind; it is only appropriate they would be immortalized with honor the same way humans have been. Although there are many dog statues around the world, this small sampling will give you an idea of how important dogs have always been to humankind.

Fala

Fala, a wee Scottish terrier, was the presidential pet of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Fala (originally known as Big Bo), was a Christmas gift to Roosevelt from a cousin. Roosevelt renamed him after a Scottish ancestor named John Murray of Falahill. A statue of Fala next to President Roosevelt, created by sculptor Neil Estern, is in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Fala traveled everywhere with President Roosevelt, and was lovingly cared for by Roosevelt. The travels with the president included accompanying him to international conferences and to Roosevelt’s homes in Georgia and New York where the president received treatments for  the paralysis he had developed from polio.

Fala was named an honorary private in the United States Army, and his name became a code word between American Military troops in The Battle of the Bulge to help keep Germans from infiltrating the U.S. ranks.

Laika

The name may not be well known in all parts of the world, but Laika, the stray dog found on the streets of Moscow in the late 1950s, is a hero in her own right who earned her place in history. She was among the earliest living animals to be launched into space. On the 3rd of November 1957, the Russians put Laika into Sputnik 2 to be the first animal ever to hopefully orbit the Earth. Although her fate from the flight was a sad one, with her death occurring while in Sputnik 2, she helped pave the way for humans to travel in space.

The tiny 11 pound dog has been immortalized in two statues in Moscow, Russia. One created in 1997 depicts her standing on a rocket in Star City, Russia where the cosmonauts trained. The other includes her in the Monument to the Conquerors of Space built in 1964. The mixed breed dog was born in 1954 and died in 1957.

Besides statues, Laika received recognition on a Romanian postage stamp in 1959. To further honor her, NASA named a soil target Laika during the Mars Exploration Rover Mission.

dog statues bremen townBremen Town Musicians

Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten (Bremen Town Musicians), are featured on a statue in Bremen, Germany which was erected in 1953. It was built in honor of a well-known Brothers Grimm fairy tale. The story is about four animals – a dog, cat, donkey and rooster – that are past their prime and usefulness in local farms. In an effort to stay alive and become independent of their human masters, each of the four run away and meet on the road on their way to become musicians in Bremen. On their travels they come across a home inhabited by robbers enjoying their ill-gotten gains. The four animals climb on each other’s backs and frighten the terrified robbers away from the home with the loud music they create. The robbers try to regain the home, but are again frightened away by the seemingly ghostly foursome. The four brave animals have become a loved symbol of bravery, unity, independence and perseverance.

The tale has been reproduced in numerous books and movies, including a Muppets version called The Muppet Musicians of Bremen, an altered 1975 version by children’s author and illustrator Richard Scarry entitled Richard Scarry’s Animal Nursery Tales.

Anubis

Not just one, but many statues and pictorial representations of Anubis have appeared in ancient Egyptian art. Anubis, although actually a jackal, is part of the nomenclature of Canidae, which includes foxes, wolves, coyotes, jackals and domestic dogs.

Jackals, as nocturnal feeders of rodents that lived among the tombs, were believed to be protectors of the dead. In the old Kingdom of Egypt, the statues were used to pray for the souls of the departed. Anubis became the God of embalming and cemeteries, a very important role in the ancient rites of passage into the afterlife. Priests involved in the mummification process were believed to don a mask of the animal god to symbolize Anubis watching over the departed during the ceremony.  Present in statuary and art discovered from ancient Egypt, he is present in every kind of Egyptian historical treasure that has survived the centuries.

dog statues k9K9 Statues

In their loyalty to humans, dogs have long been members of military and law enforcement teams. These often unheralded companions, team members and working dogs perform their dangerous services to help protect human beings. Some have lost their lives in the effort, and others served for a lifetime. The bond between their handlers and these amazing service dogs is similar to that between human comrades in arms, no matter what their service was. Their sacrifice and loss, or longtime service is deserving of statues being built in their honor.  There are countless examples of canine heroes represented in memorial statues across the United States. The deep connection between man and dog withstands even the most harrowing circumstances. It is no wonder these brave animals are so honored. Their contributions have been immense.

It is obvious in their inclusion in the vast art of statues throughout the world, that dogs are valued for their steadfast loyalty and love for humankind, and rightfully honored.

Top photo by Ken Lund/Flickr
Middle photo by Allie_Caulfield/Flickr
Bottom photo by State Farm/Flickr

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Who Are Those Dogs in the Subaru Commercials?

subaru dogs paulaBy Linda Cole

Subaru has been airing TV commercials featuring cute dogs for quite some time. Their newest ad series features the “Barkley’s,” a family of three Golden Retrievers and one Yellow Labrador Retriever. The commercials definitely put a smile on your face as the adorable canine family “acts out” common everyday driving experiences in five different ads. What makes the commercials work is how the director of the ads was able to portray the dogs spoofing humans. So, who are those dogs in the Subaru commercials?

Auggie

At five years of age when the commercials were made, Auggie is a purebred Golden Retriever and plays the Doggy Dad perched behind the steering wheel of his Subaru. When not driving the family around town, he spends his time at home on a farm in Canada with 10 siblings, although he isn’t related to any of them. He loves stuffed animals and is often seen carrying one around. Auggie isn’t a newcomer to TV commercials. He has an impressive resume under his collar already, with roles in other commercials, TV shows and movies.

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Iconic Dogs Found in Literature

iconic dogs grandpafootsoldierBy Langley Cornwell

During this time of year, it’s so hot where I live that if I’m not working in my home office, chances are good that I’m tucked into a nook somewhere with a fan blowing in my face and a book glued to my hands. My summer reading list has revealed some memorable protagonists, and not all of them are of the two-legged variety. In fact, some of my favorite characters, not surprisingly, happen to be four-legged.

That’s right, in some books dogs play an essential role in the plot progression. Sometimes the entire story centers on the canine, while in other stories he is merely doing what he does best, being a faithful companion and loyal sidekick to his human. Here are a few of my favorite dogs found in literature.

Buck

With a list like this, you almost have to start with Buck from Jack London’s The Call of the Wild. This canine was a principal character in this classic 1903 book. Buck was living a leisurely life as a domesticated dog during the Klondike Gold Rush period when, being a St. Bernard-Scotch Collie mix, he was stolen and forced to work as a sled dog. This heroic one-time-pet begins to transform into a more primal, animalistic creature in order to survive at the hands of cruel humans and conditions.

Finally, Buck is rescued by John Thornton and the two forge an incredibly close relationship. Buck gets the chance to repay the debt by rescuing Thornton from a frozen river. But in the end, Buck’s beloved human is killed and he returns to his primal nature by answering the call of the wild. I fell in love with Buck the first time I read his name, and have loved him ever since. As you can probably tell, this book had a profound effect on me as a child.

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8 Dogs That Played a Role in World History

dogs history jasonBy Linda Cole

The space race between the United States and Russia began in the early 1960s when President Kennedy issued a challenge to NASA to put a man on the moon by 1969. Russia was first to put a living being into space when they launched a stray terrier named Laika. Sadly, she didn’t survive long enough to reach orbit, but it had a profound effect on the world and gave us the drive to put a man on the moon. Laika wasn’t the only dog that played a role in world history, though. Here are 8 more.

Belka and Strelka

When the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 5 in 1960, two mixed breed stray canines from Moscow were the first dogs to go into orbit and return alive. The furry cosmonauts’ 24 hour orbital flight gave the Soviets the confidence to continue their dream of putting a man into space. The dogs became national heroes and were honored worldwide for their contribution to the space race. Shortly after Strelka returned from space, she gave birth to six puppies. Nikita Khrushchev gifted one of the pups, Pushinka, to President Kennedy and his family.

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How Did Fido Become a Generic Name for Dog?

fido david bBy Linda Cole

Fido is a generic name many people use when referring to any dog. It’s a Latin word that means “to trust, believe, confide in.” However, there are few references to the name throughout the pages of time, and it’s not a name found on those “most popular dog names” lists – except briefly during one period in history. So if Fido has never been popular, how did it become a common name used to mean any dog? To answer that question, we have to go back to the election of our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln.

Suffering from bouts of depression that made it difficult for him to work, Lincoln found comfort with his pets and they became a lifeline that pulled him out of his darkness. He was passionate about animals throughout his life, with a special fondness for cats, and was an outspoken advocate for animal rights as well as human rights. Lincoln served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1847 to 1849, returning to his law practice after leaving office. He stepped back onto the political stage at the 1860 Republican National Convention to accept his party’s nomination to run for president.

Fido’s story, however, begins in Springfield, Illinois in 1855. Lincoln rescued a medium-sized, yellow retriever/shepherd pup he named Fido. The pair became inseparable and were commonly seen strolling around town together. Fido had the run of the house, much to the disapproval of Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd, who wasn’t fond of animals. She bristled when Fido tracked mud through the house, and wasn’t amused when he claimed a horsehair sofa as his. But she tolerated him, and for five years Fido lived a carefree life – until 1860 when Lincoln won the presidential election.

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5 Disney Movies Featuring Memorable Dogs

disney lorenBy Laurie Darroch

Disney has long been a promoter of the special place dogs have in our lives, and the wonderful and varied characters that dogs are. Disney dogs are vast and individual, ranging from an anthropomorphized animated Goofy who made his first appearance in 1932 in Mickey’s Revue, to a more current selection in 2012, Tim Burton’s animated Frankenweenie, and all the dogs in between. Both animated and live action, Disney dogs even have their own franchise. The five movies below are just a taste of the wonderful canine collection Disney has brought to the screen.

Old Yeller

Originally a 1956 children’s book by Fred Gipson, Old Yeller won the Newberry Medal for “The most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” In 1957, Disney released the film version of the story about the big yellow stray dog that wove its way into the hearts of the family it adopted. Moviegoers shed many tears over the heartbreaking demise of the loyal and beautiful dog at the end of the movie. Yes…we do love our dogs!

The original story is set in Texas in the 1860s. It was followed by a sequel called Savage Sam, about the offspring of the famous yellow dog.

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