Jim the Wonder Dog remembered as icon in Marshall

6 months 3 weeks 5 days ago Monday, July 01 2019 Jul 1, 2019 Monday, July 01, 2019 6:05:00 PM CDT July 01, 2019 in News
By: Lindsey Wilkerson, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
Photo Courtesy: Friends of Jim the Wonder Dog

MARSHALL - What do you call a dog that can supposedly understand foreign languages, read license plates, and predict future events? You name him Jim the Wonder Dog, of course!

In 1925, Sam VanArsdale, a hotel owner from Marshall, purchased a hunting dog from a breeder in Louisiana. He named the Llewellyn Setter Jim.

According to folklore, VanArsdale realized while out hunting one day that Jim had special talents.

Jim was said to understand foreign languages without being taught. He could wander the streets and locate a car by the brand, color or license plate, people said. Some said he could identify individual people from crowds based off off of vague descriptions like, "man who sells hardware," or the "visitor from Kansas City," according to the Jim the Wonder Dog website

Jim was known to see the future. For example, he accurately guessed the sex of unborn babies, chose the winner of the Kentucky Derby seven years in a row and accurately predicted that the Yankees would win the 1936 World Series, the website says.

Baffled by Jim's talents, VanArsdale sought a veterinary evaluation by professors at the University of Missouri and Washington University in St. Louis. They put him through a battery of tests to see if his supposed skills were a hox. But, as outlined on the website of MU's College of Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources, no explanation could be found.

Jim was featured in numerous magazines and newspapers for his inexplicable talents. He performed at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia and in front of the Missouri Legislature in Jefferson City. Once word about Jim spread, he performed all around the United States.

Jim passed away in 1937 at the age of 12. He has been featured on Ripley's Believe it or Not! and Animal Planet. Several books have been written about him, and he even has his own song.

In 2017, Senate Bill 376 was signed by Gov. Eric Greitens, officially declaring Jim as the state's Wonder Dog.

In 1999, VanArsdale's hotel - named the "Ruff Hotel" - was knocked down to build a memorial garden for Jim. Next to it lies a museum filled with photos and memorabilia about the dog.

This year, the museum and memorial garden are celebrating their 20 year anniversary.

A group of people from Marshall, called "Friends of Jim the Wonder Dog," are responsible for the garden and museum. Larry Arrowood, the president of the group, says Jim's memorial garden is a popular spot for people to visit in the summer.

“We average during the summer about 40 to 50 people a day in the museum and more than that in the garden," he said. "They come from all over - sometimes they come for other reasons, other times they come here just for Jim because they heard about Jim.”

Every year, Friends of Jim the Wonder Dog hosts a celebration in Marshall called "Wonder Dog Day." Visitors are encouraged to bring their dogs and compete in competitions including best kisser, best trick, and Jim lookalike.

Ruth Wundrack brought her dog to compete in the lookalike contest.

“Jim was always kind of a legend," she said. "Everybody kind of knew about him.”

Wundrack and her dog did not place in the competition, but she said Jim has always been a part of her life since she grew up around Marshall. Her mom even got her one of the books about Jim for her high school graduation.

A Facebook page, run by Friends of Jim the Wonder Dog, has been set up so fans can stay updated on events that the museum and memorial garden are planning in the future.

More News

Grid
List
KINGDOM CITY— A Callaway County Sheriff's Office deputy found a stole firearm, numerous "felony level controlled substances" and drug paraphernalia... More >>
27 minutes ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 10:50:00 AM CST January 26, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Abortion is expected to play a key role in Missouri's 2020 governor’s race, when voters... More >>
55 minutes ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 10:21:45 AM CST January 26, 2020 in News
BENTON COUNTY — A Blue Springs, Missouri woman is dead after a crash Saturday night. Andralee Taylor, 32, was... More >>
1 hour ago Sunday, January 26 2020 Jan 26, 2020 Sunday, January 26, 2020 9:20:01 AM CST January 26, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- Singing, dancing, and speaking were all part of The Cultural Association of India's annual India Day celebration Saturday afternoon.... More >>
18 hours ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 5:05:00 PM CST January 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA— Officers with the University of Missouri Police Department arrested John T. McLiney, 19, on one count of... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 4:00:00 PM CST January 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Choral Arts Alliance of Missouri is holding its 5th Annual Unity Concert. The goal of the event... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 3:53:00 PM CST January 25, 2020 in News
FULTON - About 20 Fulton YMCA members kicked the cold Saturday by bundling up and running in the 4th annual... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 3:48:00 PM CST January 25, 2020 in News
BOONVILLE — The third annual Superfinn Autism Foundation Guns and Hoses Event was hosted at Boonville High School Saturday. ... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 3:10:00 PM CST January 25, 2020 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA- More than 100 people showed up for the 7th annual ROC 7K Trail run at Cosmo Park Saturday morning.... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 3:04:00 PM CST January 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – Dozens of veterans showed up to All American Dental for free dental work Saturday. Leroy Strube, a... More >>
21 hours ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 2:04:00 PM CST January 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Como Shorts Filmmaker Showcase hosts multiple local artists this weekend to present their films. The showcase... More >>
21 hours ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 1:54:00 PM CST January 25, 2020 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The CoMo Short Showcase highlights local filmmakers and their original work in the community. The goal is... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, January 25 2020 Jan 25, 2020 Saturday, January 25, 2020 4:45:00 AM CST January 25, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A hearing has been set for Joseph Elledge on Feb. 3 at 3:00 p.m. at the Boone County... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 24 2020 Jan 24, 2020 Friday, January 24, 2020 8:02:00 PM CST January 24, 2020 in News
BOONVILLE – With the closing of Pinnacle Regional Hospital in Boonville, it will likely take longer for emergency officials to... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 24 2020 Jan 24, 2020 Friday, January 24, 2020 7:50:00 PM CST January 24, 2020 in News
BOONVILLE (AP) - Missouri is planning to cut more than 1,700 beds at prisons across the state. Department of... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 24 2020 Jan 24, 2020 Friday, January 24, 2020 6:47:00 PM CST January 24, 2020 in News
GUTHRIE TOWNSHIP - Deputies have one suspect in custody in a murder investigation. The Callaway County Sheriff's Office said there... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 24 2020 Jan 24, 2020 Friday, January 24, 2020 5:41:00 PM CST January 24, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Students avoided slick roads after the University of Missouri closed campus on Friday. The school alerted students... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 24 2020 Jan 24, 2020 Friday, January 24, 2020 2:07:00 PM CST January 24, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - After a heavy snow fall Thursday night, Susan Stephenson received notifications that Columbia Public Schools would not be... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 24 2020 Jan 24, 2020 Friday, January 24, 2020 1:28:00 PM CST January 24, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 37°
12pm 38°
1pm 39°
2pm 41°
3pm 41°