There are some famous dogs cast in bronze but not all have a museum and a memorial garden dedicated to them. Marshall, Missouri was the home town of Jim the Wonder Dog, born in 1925. The town still looks a little like a postcard from those times but in one corner of town is the ‘Jim the Wonderdog Museum’. During the depression days of the 1930’s throngs of onlookers came to see Jim for entertainment. His presence today in Marshall is everywhere.
Jim was an English Llewellin Setter with remarkable abilities as demonstrated via the instruction of his owner Sam Van Arsdale. Sam originally just wanted a hunting dog, but he got a lot more than he bargained for.
Some folks who remember seeing Jim reported that he looked completely regular except for his eyes. There was something very unusual about their appearance, not like a normal dog and that they seemed to go on forever. Perhaps he was a deep thinker?
During his performances he did such things as count by moving his paw as many times as the number he was told. He did tricks and carried out instructions given in English, foreign languages, shorthand or morse code. He did things such as ‘picking out a man with a red tie’ or ‘girl with a blue dress’. Someone would come in, write down a licence plate number, ask Jim to go find it and he could. If they said that there is a car here from another state e.g. Kansas, he would go and locate it. Mr. Van Arsdale could write a request on paper, show it to Jim and say “Do whatever it says”.
Jim was well known for predicting the gender of unborn babies. He picked the Kentucky Derby winner 7 years in a row. In Florida after a spree of wins at the races Jim’s owner even received a death threat and they had to flee town. Whilst some labelled Jim’s abilities trickery others argued that it’s hardly trickery to predict future events.
The park dedicated to Jim is located on the former site of his owner’s hotel. Sculptor Andy Davis was commission to fashion a life-size bronze statue of this very memorable and famous K9. Jim’s grave represented by a simple headstone at Marshall Ridge Park Cemetery is one of the most visited graves on the site and it is rare to find it without flowers.
Leah & Angela OMeara
Hound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Care Brisbane)