In an adorable incident, the President of Turkmenistan has just unveiled a statue of his favorite dog at a busy traffic circle in the country’s capital city of Ashgabat.
The huge gilded statue was erected at the behest of Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. Mounted on a pedestal, the statue is accompanied by a screen at its base showing Turkmenistan’s beloved Alabai dogs in action wrapped around the pedestal,
The statue joins another on a different major junction, also coated in gold, of President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov himself, seated on a horse.
Dogs and horses are sources of national pride in the isolated desert nation, where they are widely used by the many traditional herders among the population of six million, which largely depends on revenues from natural gas reserves.
Berdymukhamedov has run the tightly-controlled former Soviet republic since 2007 and is unofficially known as Arkadag, or protector.
He has praised the Alabai, or Central Asian shepherd dog, as national heritage and written a book as well as a poem about them. He gave Putin an Alabai puppy in 2017.
The large, stocky breed is known as wolf crusher for its prowess in guarding sheep and goats and is also used to guard homes and for dog fights, a popular form of entertainment in Turkmenistan.
Video of the statue’s unveiling were shared on social media and have been going viral since.
The statue will join a list of famous canine statues erected around the world, the most famous one being the memorial statue of Hachiko in Japan to honour the dog with the same name. The statue was erected in 1934 by artist Teru Ando.
Not just dogs, cats have also been commemorated in metal across the world. The latest of such statues was unveiled in December 2019 in France where a group of fundraisers installed a bronze statue of Felicite, the first cat to have survived a space sojourn, in the International Space University in Strasbourg.
(With inputs from Reuters)