Category Archives: working 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, 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.


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.


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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Can You Throw Off a Tracking Dog’s Scent with Pepper?

tracking dog annBy Linda Cole

When two prisoners escaped from a correctional facility in upstate New York earlier this year, it took authorities three weeks to find them. A police superintendent said he believed one of the convicts was able to elude capture for so long because he covered his tracks with pepper. But is it really possible to throw off a tracking dog’s scent with pepper? Stay tuned for the answer.

When it comes to picking up a scent and tracking it, Bloodhounds are second to none. In fact, a Bloodhound is so good at following a scent that his trailing results are admissible as evidence in a court of law. No other tracking dog breeds have that distinction. People who work with Bloodhounds often refer to them as “a nose attached to a dog.” A breed born to track, the working ability of these dogs is described as 75% instinct and 25% learned through training. Once a Bloodhound picks up a scent, he doesn’t forget it.

It was reported that Bloodhounds and German Shepherds took part in tracking the New York escapees, but it’s not known which breed the convicts tried to fool with pepper. However, trained German Shepherds also excel at tracking a scent. In addition to tracking fugitives, we use canines to sniff out bed bugs, explosives, drugs, low blood sugar, seizures, missing people and many other scents. Once a dog is trained to detect a certain scent, he is able to locate it regardless of other scents he may encounter along the way. The canine nose is so good that dogs are able to pick up a scent buried 40 feet underground or 80 feet underwater.
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What Human Job Would Your Dog Do?

By Linda Cole

Every dog has their own unique personality, preferences and abilities. Not all “water dogs” enjoy swimming, and not all Border Collies can herd sheep. I was observing my dog, Shelby, recently while she intensely watched my cat, who was a little too close to her food bowl. Shelby isn’t aggressive with my cats, nor does she guard her bowl. It’s a game she enjoys playing and the cats play along by giving her their best defiant stare of superiority. It made me laugh which got Shelby’s attention, and as she pawed my leg I thought about human jobs she and my other dogs might be good at.

dog jobs keikeiKeikei

This Border Collie mix adores the spotlight and thinks the world revolves around her. She is as sharp as a howling north wind in January, quickly learns new commands, and can be bossy at times. During play, her eyes are bright as she leaps around with excited barks like a cheerleader leading a chant. Nothing gets past her – sounds, people walking by, other animals or the occasional appearance of something only she can see.

A good human job for Keikei would be a CIA agent, because she has her nose poked in everything going on around the neighborhood. However, it wouldn’t be long before her covert spying was uncovered because she would never be able to avoid detection. She just can’t resist using her voice, and would end up spilling all of the secrets she knew. Foiled in her first human job, she would definitely shine as a celebrity strutting along a red carpet lined with adoring fans snapping her picture.

dog jobs MaxMax

My black Lab may be a water dog breed, but actually getting into water or exercising isn’t something Max has on his bucket list. He’s getting up there in age and prefers lounging around all day – and it’s obvious he hasn’t missed any of his CANIDAE meals.

Max makes up for his lack of ambition with an adorable willingness to get along, and has an “every day is a vacation” attitude. There’s no question his human job would be as a head of state. No real duties to attend to, except greeting dignitaries at state dinners.

dog jobs ShelbyShelby

My German Shepherd mix is a hand shaker and manipulator. She’s not a bit shy about flinging out her paw for attention. If I ignore her, she moves in closer and stares at me with pleading eyes. If that fails, her next move is to swipe her tongue up my leg or across my arm. Failure to achieve attention is not an option and her next move is to sit down right in front of me, paw my leg and whine quietly.

Shelby can pander as good as any politician looking for votes. Come to think about it, I can see her making a run for public office. She can work a crowd, and loves shaking hands and kissing strangers.

dog jogs DozerDozer

This Terrier mix investigates every inch of the dog pen every time he goes outside. If he finds a scent that draws his interest to a hole going underground, dirt begins to fly – which apparently causes him to lose his ability to hear.

Dozer would make a good archaeologist based on his dogged determination to dig out whatever is hiding beneath him. Although he has been known to dig at a chipmunk entrance and miss the critter climbing out of another hole behind him. He would still be good at pest control since he seems to be able to chase small critters out of the yard, one way or the other.

dog jobs rileyRiley

This Chihuahua/Terrier mix has a skeptical sideways glare she gives me when I laugh at her, which happens a lot. She’s the smallest canine in the house, but thinks she’s the biggest, and has no problem trying to intimidate her siblings – who all ignore her attempts to boss them around. I can see her sitting on the high bench in a court of law as a judge, barking to keep everyone in line. Come to think about it, she would also be the jury.

Another human job that would suit her would be an exercise guru. The one problem with that job, however, is she only has one move: rolling over on her back, kicking her back legs into the hair and then wiggling her butt back and forth while squealing with delight. I don’t know how well that move would work on molding a six-pack ab, but it certainly would bring a smile to anyone watching.

Photos by Linda Cole

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Extinct Dog Breeds We’ll Never Get to Meet

Southern_HoundBy Langley Cornwell

The World Canine Organization assembled a list of 339 different dog breeds that are agreed upon and recognized internationally. That’s a lot of dog breeds! But what this comprehensive list doesn’t include are the many different breeds that used to be documented, but are now extinct.

You may wonder how a dog breed becomes extinct. It’s generally at the hands of humans. We have either lost interest in preserving a certain breed or we have selectively bred that particular dog breed into a completely new breed. Here are a few interesting dog breeds that are no longer with us.

Southern Hound

A slow and methodical tracker, the Southern Hound was one of the oldest scent and tracking breeds ever documented. This big, plodding dog with long legs and a deep voice dates all the way back to the early 1400s. Known for his ability to track trails that had already gone cold, he was an expert (albeit slow) rabbit and deer hunter. As the Renaissance was coming to an end, hunters began to favor faster prey, so fox hunting rose in popularity. Because the Southern Hound was such a deliberate, steady tracker, he wasn’t the best choice for this fast-moving sport. Looking for a speedier dog, hunters began cross-breeding Southern Hounds with quicker, lighter breeds. The result was the beginnings of modern-day scent hounds including Beagles, Bloodhounds and Foxhounds.

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What Does It Take to Train a Service Dog?

By Langley Cornwell

Don’t we all marvel at the calm, focused demeanor of service dogs? My husband and I were being seated for lunch last week when I immediately noticed a giant Newfoundland calmly lounging under the bar. The dog wore a bright red “service dog” vest. My eyes traveled up to the gentleman sitting above the pup, eating his lunch, and I gave him a weak, polite smile. I didn’t want to gawk, but the dog captured my attention and it was hard to turn away.

Some time later when I was convinced the gentleman wasn’t looking, I stealthily pulled out my camera phone and snapped a photo. Don’t judge! Have you ever seen a Newfie service dog? It was a sight to behold. Congratulating myself on my sleight of hand, I snuck a look at the image. The photo was blurry. I’m clearly not cut out for the spy business.

I really wanted a closer look at this dog before the guy left, so I approached him, introduced myself and told him I was an avid animal lover and was mesmerized by his dog. He beamingly said she was one of only a handful of Newfoundland service dogs, told me about her special training, and allowed me to pet her. When I got up to leave, he said “Do you want to take another picture? I’m sure the first one didn’t turn out too well.” I laughed and told him I was trying to be sneaky. He confirmed that I need to keep my day job.

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Five Famous Dogs in Advertisements

By Laurie Darroch

Dogs have become famous symbols for many different brands. Some are so connected to the brand that their image instantly brings to mind the product or business it represents. With clever marketing and advertising, these dogs have made a huge impression on their viewing audiences, sometimes even taking on an almost cult-like following that shadows the original product they represent.

RCA Victor: Nipper

One of the classic icons of advertising, Nipper was shown sitting next to a large old-fashioned cylinder phonograph by Edison Bell. Nipper was first seen in a painting done by Francis James Barraud, the brother of Nipper’s original owner. Named for his habit of trying to nip visitors in the legs, the white Terrier with dark ears was born in 1894 and only lived for a year. His painting was done three years after his death.

Nipper became registered as the image of RCA for use in the United States in 1900. He represented RCA Victor Talking Machine Company, HMV, JVC, His Master’s Voice, and then RCA Victor. In later advertisements starting in 1991, a puppy companion named Chipper was added to some of the pictures.

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