Rural Missouri - May 2020 - 31

Jim, shown here with Sam Van Arsdale, had
an uncanny ability to find birds and refused
to hunt when there were none present.

"Jim could do any mental trick
that a human could do. He
understood every language,
written or spoken. I mean by
that he could actually read."
- Sam Van Arsdale
photo courtesy of the Friends of Jim the Wonder Dog

Intrigued, Sam directed him to find a black oak. Jim
their parents.
did it. Astonished, Sam asked him to find all sorts of trees,
There was nothing in Jim's early days that pointed to
and finally a stump and a tin can. Jim never failed.
his future greatness. In fact, he appeared to be the least
Jim's fame spread. Sam moved to Sedalia, where he
likely of the litter born to a Louisiana breeder on March
managed the LaMoore Hotel. Here, Jim was put to the
10, 1925.
test. Despite the belief that dogs are color blind, Jim easJim is described as an ungainly dog, with feet and a
ily picked out different colored clothes on command from
forehead that were too big for his body. Unlike the six othSam.
er pups, which chased each other around the pen, Jim
He could point to the gentleman from Blackwater or
spent most of his time with his head on his paws, as if
the car a certain salesman drove. Asked on what you
deep in thought.
would listen to Amos and Andy, Jim pointed to a radio.
He was given as a joke to Sam Van Arsdale,
Sam liked a certain cigar. Jim could point out the
an avid bird hunter who at the time was managbox
these cigars came in, even when the clerk tried
ing the Arcade Hotel in West Plains. Sam turned
Marshall
to fool him by rearranging the display case.
him over to a trainer, who quickly saw the pup was
As word got around - spread by the many
hopeless. Try as he might, he couldn't get Jim to
traveling salesmen who saw him perform and the
hunt like the other dogs under his direction.
hundreds of newspaper stories written about him
Rather than give up on him, Sam took Jim hunt- people flocked to Marshall to see for themselves.
ing and learned the dog was a natural that needed
They left believers.
no training. On the hunt, Jim wouldn't track back and
"I have never asked Jim a question he could not
forth trying to pick up the scent. Instead, he went straight
answer," Sam once told a newspaper reporter. "Jim could
to the covey as if he knew exactly where the birds would
do any mental trick that a human could do. He understood
be. If there were no quail in the field, Jim would refuse to
every language, written or spoken. I mean by that he could
hunt.
actually read. I could write a command in any language,
These early signs only suggested Jim's prowess as a
show it to him, and he would obey. In fact, Jim knew
hunter - not his supernatural skills. But one hot day,
everything."
Sam spoke out loud to Jim. He suggested they stop huntJim could even predict the future. He predicted that
ing and go sit under a hickory tree to cool off. Jim trotted
Franklin Roosevelt would win the 1936 presidential elecstraight to the hickory, even though there were many trees
tion and that the Yankees would win the World Series
from which to choose.
MAY 2020 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP

31


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Rural Missouri - May 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - May 2020

Contents
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - Contents
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - 4
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - 5
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - 6
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - 7
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - 8
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - 9
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - 10
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Rural Missouri - May 2020 - 50
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - May 2020 - Cover4
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