1. Gelert in Beddgelert, Wales, U.K.
If you love legends or fables then the story of Gelert is bound to be one of your favorites. According to legend, the Prince of North Wales, Llywelyn returns from ʜᴜɴᴛing to find his baby missing, the crib flipped over, and ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ smeared all over the snout of Gelert. Llywelyn instantly draws his sword and sᴛᴀʙs poor Gelert to ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ. As soon as he does this, he then hears the crying of his young baby under the crib and next to it, the ᴄᴏʀᴘsᴇ of a ᴅᴇᴀᴅ wolf who had snuck in and ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋed the child. In his dismay, Llywelyn realizes that Gelert had not ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋed the child but rather saved him from the fangs of the wolf! To atone for his rash actions, Llywelyn buries Gelert with a royal ceremony and legend has it he never smiled again!
2. The Brown Dog in Battersea Park, London
So in reality there may or may not be an actual brown dog that this statue “honors.” However, the Brown Dog of Battersea Park has caused as much political sᴛʀɪꜰᴇ in this London Community as Wagyha has in India. According to the story, around 1903, a University College of London (UCL) professor was accused of illegal and inhumane medical testing on a brown dog. He was later exonerated of all charges and even won a libel case against his accusers.
However, this did not thwart the community of Battersea. A progressive neighborhood in London, the community ᴀᴘᴘᴀʟʟᴇᴅ by the actions of the Medical Students of UCL, erected a statue of the supposed Brown Dog with a sᴄᴀᴛʜɪɴɢ plaque ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋing the University. This caused outrage among the medical students who would about a year later attempt to remove the statue and cause what is now known as the Brown Dog Rɪᴏᴛs! This would go on for several years between the students and the community of Battersea until the town council finally agreed to remove the statue and have it ᴅᴇsᴛʀᴏʏᴇᴅ.
Then in 1985, a new Brown Dog statue was erected along with the original sᴄᴀᴛʜɪɴɢ plaque ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋing the University College of London.
3. Sweet Willy & Toby in Cottonwood, Idaho
In 1889, a dam burst in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and virtually destroyed the entire city. However, when James Morley returned to his flooded home amid the destruction he found his old metal dog lawn ornament still intact. So he took the old dog to the park and put it on display to inspire his neighbors. Much like what the Fleur de Lis symbol became to the locals of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, this old metal dog became a symbol of rebirth to the citizens Johnstown.
4. Morley’s Dog in Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Waghya (which translates to “Tiger”) was a small mixed breed dog of the Indian Warrior King, Shivaji Maharaj. According to legend, when Shivaji finally ᴅɪᴇᴅ, Waghya mourned deeply. Then at the cremation of his former master, the small “Tiger”, offered himself up as a sacrifice to his former master and leapt to his ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ into the funeral ᴘʏʀᴇ.
Interestingly, his legend is the center of some ᴄᴏɴꜰʟɪᴄᴛ in the area. Back in 2012 a group of 73 Maratha ᴇxᴛʀᴇᴍists stole the statue. They claimed that there is no truth to the story and it degrades Shivaji’s legacy. However, Waghya was later returned to his location beside Shivaji’s tomb.
5. Fala in Washington, D.C. USA
It is not often we hear about an American President and his pet but Fala was Frankin D Roosevelt’s (FDR) side kick. It was said that the 32nd President took the little black Scottish terrier everywhere, especially throughout his Wᴏʀʟᴅ Wᴀʀ II fundraising efforts. However, Fala, like most in the political eye, was not without scandal. During Roosevelt’s 1944 presidential campaign, Republicans charged that FDR had accidentally left Fala behind on the Aleutian Islands while on tour there. They accused the president of sending a U.S. Navy ᴅᴇsᴛʀᴏʏer to retrieve his little dog at an exorbitant cost to the taxpayers.
After FDR ᴘᴀssᴇᴅ ᴀᴡᴀʏ, Fala attended Roosevelt’s funeral and went to live with the widowed former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. During that time Eleanor wrote a newspaper column titled, “My Day”, where she often referenced her adventures with the little rascal.