Civic initiative aims to get Tallinn stray dog immortalized with statue

A stray dog in the Kalamaja district of Tallinn, dubbed by local residents as Žorik, has become something of a legend, bucking the global trend for iconoclasm with a civic initiative started to raise a statue, or monument on his behalf.

ETV daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Tuesday that there are many legends attached to Žorik, since noone knows anything about the dog's real past. Sometimes even considered a ghost, Žorik has been living rough on the streets of Kalamaja for years and even has a social media fan page.

One of the locations where Žorik was often spotted was on the premises of the Arsenal shopping mall in nearby Kopli.

Kai Reinfeldt, marketing manager for the mall, said: "His main attraction was traffic reorganization, as the dog loved lying on the pavement. He was also a frequent visitor to our flowerbed,s but he was actually quite polite as he never entered the building, even though well-behaved dogs are allowed inside."

Žorik's life on the streets of Kalamaja might seem a sad tale at first, but there is also another side to the story.

Heiki Valner, author of the monument project, said: "It is a story of great care and goodness, he was only able to survive because of all the locals who actually took good care of him for all these years. And I dare say that the dog ate better than most of us. He wasn't given just scraps, he has been fed with the best fillets from the local market."

The aging dog is currently at a home where he is getting used to living with a family, but he does not allow any petting and most likely will not transform into a lap dog in his dotage.

Valner said the people of Kalamaja should be left with a monument to Žorik after his passing.

He explained: "We currently have two locations in mind - one close to the Arsenal center and one in Kalamaja Park. Of course, the final decision will be made when people get behind the initiative and we can see how our funding looks. One of the two projects is remarkably costlier than the other."

Valner said that if everything goes according to plan, the monument could be put up before year's end.

Žorik himself will most likely not attend the event, as he dislikes both car rides and, in general, the public.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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