Once in a while we run into a quirky
statue or monument in our travels, but the one we found in Marshall,
Missouri was especially quirky. It was a park, and statue of a dog. This wasn't just any ordinary dog though. This was the famous "Jim, The
story began in 1925 in Louisiana. Born a Llewellin Setter, he came from
a litter that was pureblood, but was considered the runt of the bunch.
According to the organization "Friends
of Jim the Wonder Dog", he was purchased at half the going price by
Sam Van Arsdale, who then worked with a trainer to try to teach Jim to
hunt. He didn't show much promise during training though, typically
laying in the shade while the other dogs did the work. However, he was
paying attention, because as soon as he was taken to a hunt that fall,
he did exactly what he was supposed to do, finding quail, holding
steady until it was shot, and acting on Van Arsdale's command of fetch
Van Arsdale, living in Marshall,
Missouri, took his prize pup state to state on hunts, with Jim knowing
exactly where to hunt, where not to hunt, and gaining his master
thousands of birds. Jim's ability as a hunter didn't go unnoticed by
others either, being called by Outdoor Life Magazine "The Hunting Dog of
The story goes that Jim's other amazing
abilities were discovered by accident during a hunt, when his owner told
him they should rest under a Hickory tree nearby. With many tree's to
choose from that were not Hickory, Jim allegedly chose the right one. Van Arsdale then commanded Jim to go to other specific types of trees,
which he did without help.
It was as if Jim could not only
understand what Van Arsdale was commanding, but soon would exhibit
talents beyond human. His list of abilities included finding
a specific car, with a specific license plate number, or a car by color,
or from another state. It is reported that he could also pick out, from
a crowd, specific people of the community, whether they knew Jim or not.
And at the height of his talents, Jim the Wonder Dog had the ability to
predict the future, choosing the winner of the 1936 Baseball World
Series, the sex of unborn infants, and seven consecutive Kentucky
Owner Sam Van Arsdale also communicated
commands to Jim in other ways, with similar results, including foreign
languages and short hand. Called before a joint session of the Missouri
Legislature, Jim was put through one of the biggest tests, a
communication method even Van Arsdale didn't understand...Morse Code.
Attempting to debunk the dogs amazing abilities, and believing that Van
Arsdale was somehow "guiding" the dog in another way, the code was
tapped out instructing Jim to go to a specific person, which to the
astonishment of the Legislators he did. Jim the Wonder Dog was even featured in Ripley's Believe it or Not.