Heartbeat of Zagreb

The Untold Story of Zagreb’s Favourite Dog Pluto That Will Melt Your Heart

You’ve probably heard many stories about brave animals, but this story is special and heart-warming. Get ready to meet Pluto, a hero dog!

It is often said that dogs are men's best friends and I couldn’t agree more. A few years ago I had a labrador named Bobi and he followed me everywhere I went. When I would go to school, he walked with me part of the way. It was like he wanted to make sure I’m OK so he could turn around and go back home. As the school finished, we had this special place where he would wait for me to guide me home. It was really sweet, and my parents let him do it because they knew exactly where he was going. I loved Bobi more than anything in the world. I’ll never forget him and I like to talk about him because that way I feel he is still there waiting for me to get home from school.

Why am I telling you this story? Because I wanted to show you how dogs can enrich everybody’s life. You probably heard about the dog named Hachiko who waited for his owner for 10 years on the train station in Tokyo, but the owner sadly passed away. There are numerous monuments of Hachiko all around the world. What if I tell you that Zagreb has its own Hachiko? Let me tell you a story of hero dog named Pluto and how Zagrebians honored him by building a memorial plaque!


Image Credit: Tajana Pran


The Story of Pluto's Bravery

During the construction of First Croatian Savings Bank in 1899, one skinny, hungry dog wandered around the construction site. The construction workers felt sorry for the poor dog so they gave him food and water. The dog kept returning over and over again and the workers started to like him, especially the architect Josip pl. Vrancas, who named it Pluto. Pluto wasn't an ordinary dog, he was a hero! As the construction site quickly became his home, he protected it from other people, especially thieves. Surprisingly, there used to be a river on the location of the construction site which was full of soil called 'ilovaca'. It was highly appreciated as people used it to make pots and dishes. The architect used this material to enclose the construction site. The construction site was also full of other precious materials and people stole them every time they could. But, not for long! Pluto protected the construction site with all his heart, as he wanted to thank his good workers who loved him dearly. Everybody knew about him and respected him. But, at the end of the construction of the bank, the workers found Pluto dead.

I dug up different versions about Pluto's death. One of them claims that Pluto was killed by thieves, and the other one claims that some heavy thing on the site fell on him while standing beneath it. Either way, workers were absolutely devastated as Pluto was their most loyal friend and protector of the construction site. As I mentioned before, architect Josip pl. Vrancas grew very fond of Pluto, and he insisted on making a memorial plaque to remember Pluto forever. This part of the story is really touching, as the one skinny, stray dog became a hero who deserved to have its own memorial plaque. This story is also a proof that dogs are really men's best friends and so little is needed for them to love you and protect you.


Image Credit: Tajana Pran


Originally, the memorial plaque was placed in the backyard of the First Croatian Savings Bank, today’s PBZ bank. PBZ bank is a part of the first covered pedestrian passage in Zagreb named Oktogon. Oktogon is a beautiful pedestrian passage with a central glass dome and stained-glass windows. Oktogon itself is worth visiting, but the posibility of seeing Pluto’s memorial plaque there is definitely worth your while.

Not many people knew about this heart-warming story up until recently. Ivan Brncic, a blogger who writes about Zagreb and often reveals unknown stories about Zagreb to many people, published the story about Pluto on his blog 'Zakaj volim Zagreb' (eng. Why I love Zagreb). He is also a founder of the same name group on Facebook and you can find it here. Readers found the story so fascinating and interesting, that it got all the way to the city authorities who finally decided to move the memorial plaque to the visible side of the PBZ bank so everybody can see it. The procedure lasted only about a month and now you can see Pluto’s monument in Bogoviceva street, next to numerous coffee shops.


If you find yourself in Zagreb, make sure you take your time to visit Puto’s memorial plaque to honor him as a dog that changed so many lives. Maybe he'll change yours, too!


Header Image Credit: Tajana Pran


Author: Tajana Pran