For centuries, dogs have been assisting humans in many ways: providing companionship, laboring in fields, performing search and rescue, and even serving in the military. It goes without saying that we owe a lot to our canine counterparts, and there aren’t enough treats and belly scratches in the world to repay them. However, these 10 monuments dedicated to dogs who have gone above and beyond represent our love and appreciation for all of our furry friends. Of course, Fido is welcome to join you at each of them.
Fala at Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Washington, DC
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the United States from 1933 to 1945. During his presidency, a relative gifted Roosevelt a Scottish Terrier, which he named Murray the Outlaw of Falahill after his Scottish Ancestor, John Murray of Falahill. The dog was called Fala, for short.
Fala became a White House celebrity, often performing tricks and obeying commands like “sit,” “roll over” and “jump.” He was deeply admired by the president and his wife, Eleanor, and traveled with them on family trips. He also was known to sit in on cabinet meetings and press conferences, and even became an honorary private of the U.S. Army by "donating" a dollar to the war effort for every day of the year.
After FDR’s death in 1945, Fala attended the funeral with Eleanor and the two became inseparable. The former First Lady often wrote about him in her newspaper column. After some health issues, Fala passed away in 1952. He is buried near the Roosevelts and next to their previous German Shepherd, Chief, in the Rose Garden at Springwood.
In 1997, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial was unveiled in Washington, DC, with sculptures depicting Roosevelt and Fala. His collar, White House dog tags and water dish are on display at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum in Hyde Park, NY.
While you’re there, take a stroll with Fido on the Tidal Basin Loop Trail and snap some photos at other locations around the National Mall. Keep the political theme going with a stay at The St. Gregory Hotel or Capitol Hill Hotel. Both properties offer a Pawlitical Landscape pet package for guests with dogs that includes personalized dog bowls and beds, treats and a loaner GoPro with dog GoPro harness.
The FDR Memorial is located on the west side of the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. The entire memorial is outside, so dogs are welcome to join you. The monument is free to visit.
Hachikō Tokyo, Japan
In 1923, a professor at Tokyo Imperial University, Elizaburo Ueno, brought a Japanese Akita puppy named Hachikō to Tokyo from a farm in the Akita prefecture of Japan. Every day, Ueno traveled to and from work by train and each day, without fail, Hachikō would be waiting for him at the train station when he returned. For almost two years, the pair continued their routine until one day in May 1925, when Ueno did not get off the train. He had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage while at work and did not survive. Hachikō, however, remained faithful, continuing his route each day and waiting for Ueno to get off of the train. When the media began reporting on the dog’s story, people from around the world started to visit, and he became a symbol of loyalty.
In 1934, Hachikō was present when a bronze statue of his likeness was unveiled at the Shibuya Train Station where he waited daily. The loyal pup died in 1935 at the age of 11, and his cremated remains were buried next to his master. The statue was remade in 1948 after World War II and dedicated at the same station. Today, visitors come from around the world to take a photo with the monument and hear the story of a faithful companion. The statue is free to visit.
Stay close to Hachikō’s monument with a pet-friendly vacation rental in Shibuya, and visit him on your way to Shibuya station for a ride into Tokyo.
Greyfriars Bobby Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Dogs are loyal, this we know, but are any as faithful as Greyfriars Bobby? As the story is told, in the 19th century, a night watchman for the Edinburgh Police Force named John Gray befriended a Skye Terrier who he called Bobby. The two became a familiar sight for locals, and together they patrolled the cobblestone streets at night. Eventually, John contracted tuberculosis, and in 1858 he passed away and was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard. Bobby spent the next 14 years guarding the grave of his owner, until his own death in 1872. During that time, Bobby touched the hearts of many, drawing in crowds of people who wanted to see the devoted pup for themselves. Locals who knew Bobby kept watch over and cared for him until his death.
In 1873, a sculpture was erected across from the Kirkyard where both John and Bobby are buried. Today, tourists rub Bobby’s nose for luck, and often leave sticks at the monument for him to fetch. The statue of Bobby sits at the corner of Candlemaker Row and the George IV Bridge in Edinburgh. Dogs are allowed to join you on your visit, and there is no cost.
While you’re there, grab lunch or dinner at Greyfriars Bobby’s Bar, located next to the monument. Dogs are welcome inside the pub. Just a short walk from here is the 4-star, pet-friendly Hotel du Vin & Bistro Edinburgh.
Balto in Central Park New York City, NY
In 1925, the diphtheria epidemic was threatening the small town of Nome, AK. The only serum known to prevent the outbreak was in Anchorage, 537 miles away. When the only aircraft capable of making the journey wouldn’t start in the freezing temperatures, a team of mushers and sled dogs were called in to complete the task. After a train took the serum north to the town of Nenana, the sled teams took over for the perilous journey. Although several dogs and men worked together to complete the task, it was Balto who led a path through complete whiteout conditions.
A statue of Balto was erected in New York’s Central Park in 1925. It is located near the Tisch Children’s Zoo and there is no fee to visit. Dogs are welcome to walk through the park and stop to pose for photos with the monument. After spending the day in the park, treat your furry hero to the creature comforts at the Loews Regency New York Hotel, located just a short walk from Balto.
Laika Moscow, Russia
In 1957, Laika, a mixed-breed stray found on the streets of Moscow was chosen by the Soviet space program to be one of the first animals in space, and the first animal to orbit the Earth. Humans had not yet made the journey and little was known about the effect space travel would have on a living being. Laika’s journey was to test the theory that she could survive being launched into orbit. However, she wasn’t expected to survive the trip back, as scientists weren’t sure that anyone could. Sadly, she perished within hours of the launch from overheating.
Laika’s story raised questions concerning animal testing, and organizations around the world called for protests at Soviet embassies. Many years later, scientists responsible for Laika’s journey apologized for the experiment, acknowledging their mistake. In 2008, a monument featuring the dog on top of a rocket was unveiled in Moscow outside of the military research center where the studies had been conducted. Today, visitors pay tribute by leaving flowers at the base of her paws. The monument is free to visit.
Laika’s statue is located just a short walk from the sumptuous pet-friendly rooms at Petroff Palace, where your pup is sure to receive a royal welcome.
Sheepdog Memorial Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
In the mid-1800s, herding dogs (not yet known as Collies) were imported into New Zealand from the United Kingdom to help farmers herd sheep on the island. The dogs came on the same cargo ships as the sheep they would be herding and were eventually given the name Border Collies. Word about these incredibly smart and athletic dogs spread quickly, and they became highly sought after. It is believed that during this time period, a rancher with a herding dog could move up to a thousand sheep at a time. They barked when they sensed danger, and did their work by maneuvering through the fields, avoiding any distractions along the way.
In 1968, a bronze statue was erected on the shore of New Zealand’s Lake Tekapo in the Mackenzie Basin. The monument depicts a Border Collie looking out over the water, and a plaque tells the story of the herding dogs. The snow-capped Southern Alps are visible in the distance, and the monument is within walking distance of the Church of the Good Shepherd, a stone church and memorial for the shepherds and farmers who once worked the surrounding fields. The statue is free to visit.
Extend your stay in this picturesque part of New Zealand with a stay at a pet-friendly Airbnb on the shores of Lake Tekapo.
Eagle Rock Park 9/11 Memorial West Orange, NJ
In the days after September 11, 2001, more than 350 canines were called in for search and rescue efforts at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Dogs of all breeds and sizes worked tirelessly for days, searching and sniffing their way through the debris, but they were unable to locate any survivors. When emotions ran high, these brave canines were also there to add comfort.
Eagle Rock Reservation lies west of Manhattan, across the Hudson River and on the ridge of the Watchung Mountains in New Jersey. From the park’s Lookout Point, visitors can view the New York City skyline in the distance. Following September 11, it became a place for visitors to gather, mourn and pay tribute. By October 2002, the Eagle Rock 9/11 Memorial inside the reservation had become a permanent place of remembrance with several sculptures honoring flight crews, police officers and children of those lost, to name a few. In 2016, a new monument was added featuring a 4-foot-tall bronze dog standing on a pile of rubble. The statue resembles the last surviving 9/11 dog, Bretagne, who passed away in 2016. The plaque beneath it honors the 350 dogs who came to serve after the tragedy. The memorial is free to visit.
Islay Sydney, Australia
Queen Victoria was an avid pet lover and had several of her own: a King Charles Spaniel named Dashy, a parrot named Coco, and a Shetland pony named Alma, just to name a few. But it was a Skye Terrier called Islay that many believe was her favorite. She often wrote about him and his gentle, good-natured behavior in her diary. His signature trick was to stand on his hind legs to beg for a treat. Islay lived with Queen Victoria for five years before losing a battle with a cat. He was buried at Adelaide Cottage in Windsor.
In the Queen Victoria Building Plaza in Sydney stands a large statue of Queen Victoria herself. The statue, originally located in Ireland, was brought to Sydney in 1986 and unveiled in 1987. In addition, a 2-foot bronze statue of Islay was sculpted and placed at the base of the queen. He is seen standing on two legs, as if begging for a treat, above a wishing well. In 1998, a voice was added to Islay so at periodic intervals throughout the day he can ask passersby by for their coins. The donations received go to the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children. There is no fee to visit the monument, but Islay does appreciate receiving spare change!
Reserve a pet-friendly hotel in Sydney and make sure to visit Islay during your visit to this beautiful city Down Under.
U.S. Military Working Dog Teams National Monument San Antonio, TX
Since World War I, dogs have made important contributions to the US Military. Canines have played various roles over the years, from detecting explosives to tracking enemy troops, standing guard or simply providing companionship and improving morale. A few have even left their mark in history, like Sgt. Stubby who gave soldiers early warnings of artillery gas during World War I, and Chips who helped capture 14 Italian soldiers during the invasion of Sicily in World War II.
At Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio, visitors will find a statue of four bronze canines and their handler, positioned on a granite platform with the inscription, “Guardians of America’s Freedom.” A large granite wall behind the sculpture describes the history of the Military Working Dog and lists the dog teams that were active during five American wars. Also part of the monument is the “Not Forgotten Fountain,” a bronze sculpture depicting a soldier pouring water into his helmet for his dog to drink. Visitors and their dogs who wish to see the monument must request a base pass from the Lackland Air Force Base Visitor Control Center. There is no fee.
This worthy tribute to canine who serve is just one of the highlights of a visit to San Antonio. Find and book a pet-friendly hotel and enjoy all that the River City has to offer.
Signal Hill National Historic Site St Johns, NL
The Newfoundland dog breed was first brought to North America from Europe in the 18th century. The working dogs were used mostly by fishermen to bring large nets in from the water or to cart a day’s catch to the market. Their webbed paws, sheer strength and large lung capacity also made them excellent swimmers, and even today they are often used in water rescues.
The Labrador Retriever is a descendant of the Newfoundland and carries many of the same qualities: webbed paws, double-layered coats and a strong tail. Like the Newfoundland, Labradors are also great swimmers, and during the 18th century, they were used as duck retrievers. The name is believed to have been given by British breeders to differentiate it from their larger, furrier predecessors. However, Labradors did not originate in Labrador, but in Newfoundland.
Despite the confusing origins and history, the two breeds have been a staple in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador since their arrival. Today, they are both popular as pets worldwide, the Labrador Retriever holding the number one spot for more than a decade.
In 2011, a bronze sculpture by artist Luben Boykov, which features a Newfoundland and Labrador Retriever, was completed at the Signal Hill National Historic Site. Visitors and their pups are invited to take a photo with the statues, walk the trails through the park and take in the panoramic ocean views. Just be ready for the cannon firing every day at noon, which can startle furry friends.
If you’re staying in the area, there are numerous pet-friendly vacation rentals in St. Johns that are close to Signal Hill and its many walking trails.