Rin Tin Tin at the Memphis Zoo

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I really enjoy the offbeat questions I get from readers from time to time. Such as this one, from C.A. in Corinth, Mississippi, who asked me, "Was there ever a dog statue at the Memphis Zoo?"

This puzzled me, since as far as I know, just about every creature in the world is (or has been at one time) on display at the zoo except for dogs and cats. Pet-type dogs and cats, I mean. So when I asked what made her think such a statue ever existed, she replied:

"I have the statue. Bought it from an elderly lady. She said it came from the Memphis Zoo. It is Rin Tin Tin and has it on the statue. It stands 12.5" tall. As you can see it has some damage. It was an outside."

Okay, by "it was an outside" I guess she means that it once stood outside, somewhere. But judging from the photos, this statue seems to be made of plaster, which wouldn't have survived long after a Memphis rainstorm. So, assuming the "elderly lady" is telling the truth about it coming from the zoo, I can only presume it was sold years ago at the gift shop.

But why would the Memphis Zoo sell plaster statues of Rin Tin Tin, the famed German shepherd who starred in his own TV series, who — as far as I know — had no connection with Memphis?

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