Animals are an intimate part of human life. Whether pets or predators, they are not only part of every landscape, they are part of the history of every country. And there may be no better way to understand a country than by the way it treats its animals and which animals it chooses to remember.
Strange as it sounds, monuments to animals have been erected all over the world. Many of these honor the animals who fought alongside men in and out of foreign trenches, but others honor the kindnesses they've bestowed upon their friends. Specifically affecting are the tributes to small animals who led big lives, animals like the small terrier that led parades through an Australian town for years and years until he became the town's mascot and the cat that sailed around the world.
These monuments may be small and out of the way, but they also offer a way to understand what qualities a culture values and thus sees in its animals. Also, they are generally adorable.
Another common theme among these monuments is that, like the animals themselves, they receive a whole lot of petting. Almost every single one of the monuments is shiny from being touched by travelers seeking a little bit of luck or some of the creature comfort of home.