Tell Us About Your Favorite Hero Animal

It’s a little dark, but some of my favorite places in the Atlas database are graves and post mortem monuments. Specifically those dedicated to incredible, singular animals. Just to name a few, there’s the Grave of Miss Baker, the first monkey to survive a trip to space (people still leave her bananas); then there’s the monument to Boomer, the three-legged hero dog whose wild story needs to be heard to be believed (or not believed); and of course King Neptune, the pig who raised millions of dollars for the U.S. Navy. Dog mayors, military birds, town cats, the list of semi-famous and remarkable animals goes on and on, and now we want to hear about the most incredible animals you’ve ever heard of, and the monuments that remember them.

(Image: Mike McBey/CC BY 2.0)

Tell us about your favorite celebrity animal in the comments below, what they did that made them remarkable, and why you love them so much. If they have a monument, grave, or statue devoted to them, even better! Your submission may be included in an upcoming round-up on Atlas Obscura!

My favorite hero animal is Rocinante, Don Quixote’s valiant steed. Well, he’s not really a hero let alone a valiant steed but he’s a hero to me because the word rocinante now also means nag or plug, “a horse that is old or in poor health”.

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My favourite hero animal is undoubtedly Snowy (a.k.a. Milou) - the intrepid Wire Fox Terrier sidekick to Tintin and co-star of all Hergé’s epic adventure albums. Snowy gets a loving shout out from me because he’s a part of my first reading experiences and tied into all that was formative and beautiful about childhood. :relaxed:

If you actually delve a little deeper into those adventures, he acts as a sorta-kind magical realist animal shadow to Tintin, saves him from many desperate scenarios and repeatedly provides comic relief and emotion. It’s also interesting to note that Hergé was (like me!) more of a cat person but decided to make Snowy a dog because it made more logical sense to have a canine adventurer.

In terms of monuments, his personage (?!) can be seen in the Hergé Museum in Louvain-la-Neuve and in various pieces of street art around Brussels. See, for instance, these murals…

Oh, and here he is in a dog-sized space suit in the Belgian Comic Book Centre…

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I would include Bamse, a St. Bernard who was the mascot of the “Thorodd”, a Norwegian fishing boat turned naval ship which escaped from the Nazis in Norway to England and engaged in a number of North Sea battles during WWII. Bamse became mascot of the Royal Norwegian Navy, and then of all the Free Norwegian Forces. He was buried with full military honors in 1944 in Scotland. In addition to a statue to him in Montrose, Scotland, there is a famous monument to Bamse in Honningsvåg, Norway (which I saw when I was there in 2015 and took this photo).

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I love his hat! This is wonderful!

Buck from The Call of the Wild because who wouldn’t want a dog that loved you that much and was so brave and strong and independent?

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