Today the continent of Asia is home to a diverse mix of races but the saying ‘dogs are a man’s best friend’ can be understood everywhere.
We all know Japan’s heart wrenching display of canine loyalty through Hachiko who waited for his owner at the station till his last breath. For us Aussies down under, the “Red Dog” of Pilbara had his own bronze statue built to honour the iconic kelpie and had a personal bank account to boot!
Just the same, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s love for animals is as long as his name. The man has just recently displayed his favour for the Turkmenistan’s herding breed, the alabai, by erecting a 5.79m gilded statue of the dog in GOLD!
Yes, you read it right.
The President also made an ode to the breed and blessed Putin with one in 2017 (what a gift!).
Dogs and Horses are a source of Turkmenistan’s national pride as the community who make their home surrounded by arid deserts and rolling dunes. Their historically nomadic lifestyle means that these animals were a key factor to their survival, not only as companions and transport but they link the people to the land and heritage.
The Alabai's large, stocky build makes it popularly known for its capability in guarding sheep and goats from preying wolves. It’s guardful nature also lends itself to participating in dog fights, one of Turkmenistan’s favourite entertainment.
Nowadays, most of the population have settled down and tend to their herds but the dogs perhaps still remind the people of a ‘roaming the wild lands’ pastime.
Wherever you are dog lovers, do tell if you’d dedicate a gold statue for your own best friend!
Bio: Sidney Boen is an energetic 1st gen Indo-Chinese Aussie with a penchant for food. She’s going into her last year in her Bachelor of Digital and social media with her eyes set on the marketing world. Loving food and travel with a voracious appetite for media and writing, she’s always out for the next interesting read. Currently working as part of the ABC News program team and a contributor to UTS Central News.