Character is defined as the traits that make up an individual. Every now and then a truly unique canine comes along that touches the hearts of those around him, and the people who witnessed the character of these dogs erected statues to honor them. Monuments that celebrate their devotion, loyalty, courage, and individualism – a reminder to present and future generations of special canines that once walked among us.
Fala was born April 7, 1940. Soon after, the Scottish Terrier pup was given to President Franklin D. Roosevelt as an early Christmas gift. Fala and Roosevelt quickly bonded and became constant companion. Roosevelt took Fala with him everywhere he went. In the car, on airplanes, trains, and even on overseas trips via ships. Fala would have to be walked on long train rides and it was impossible to hide the fact that President Roosevelt was aboard. So the Secret Service gave the dog the best codename they could think of, “the informer.”
Fala is one of the most famous of all presidential pets. He met and entertained world leaders from around the world and enjoyed showing them tricks like, sitting up, rolling over, and showing his version of a doggy smile. He was a celebrity in his own right and appears in many photographs with Roosevelt. Fala was so popular and received so much mail, a secretary was hired to answer all of the correspondence sent to him. During the 1944 presidential campaign, Republicans decided to use Fala as a pawn and tried to create a political scandal involving the dog, a battleship, and a lie about tax dollars to embarrass Roosevelt. They started a rumor Fala had been accidentally left in the Aleutian Islands and Roosevelt sent a battleship to pick the dog up costing taxpayers millions of dollars. Roosevelt answered their false rumors in his famous “Fala Speech.” Fala died April 5, 1952. To honor his loyalty and devotion, a statue of Fala sits with Roosevelt in Washington D.C. at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. The only pet that has ever been included in a presidential memorial.
Old Drum The Civil War had devastated farming land and four years after the war’s end Missouri farmers were trying to scrape out a living raising crops and livestock. Old Drum was a black and tan hound that belonged to Charles Burden. In fact the dog was his favorite hunting dog and beloved pet. His neighbor and brother-in-law, Leonidas Hornsby was tired of chasing stray dogs off his property and losing sheep to wandering dogs. He vowed to shoot the next stray dog he found on his land. That dog turned out to be Old Drum. Although, it was his nephew, Samuel Ferguson who actually shot Old Drum. Burden heard the rifle shot and called his dogs, but Drum didn’t come. Aware of Hornsby’s threat, Burden searched for his dog. He was furious when he discovered Drum’s body the next morning. He wanted justice and sued Hornsby on November 25, 1869 for $50, which was the most allowed by law for a quality dog.
After 11 months of back and forth appeals, Charles Burden, who was represented by George G. Vest, won his case. Vest’s closing argument is considered to be one of the most memorable ever made by an attorney. His speech, “Eulogy of the Dog” brought tears to everyone in the courtroom and the jury returned with a verdict in favor of Burden. He was awarded $50 and court costs. Vest had given a heartwarming tribute to all dogs and their owners. A bronze statue of Old Drum was erected on September 23, 1958 and sits on the current Johnson County Courthouse lawn in Warrensburg, Missouri.
Patsy Ann was born in Portland, Oregon on October 12, 1929. A Juneau, Alaska dentist brought the white Bull Terrier puppy home for his twin daughters. Patsy Ann was a free spirit and wasn’t happy hanging around the house. She preferred living on the streets of Juneau and mingling with the people. It wasn’t long before the press began reporting on her antics around town, like leaving paw prints in freshly poured cement. The friendly dog was adored by everyone and local businesses made sure she was well fed with a warm place to sleep at night.
Patsy Ann loved sitting on one of the docks waiting for ships to come in. Before they were able to be seen, ships blasted their whistles to signal their preparations to dock. No matter where Patsy Ann was at in town, she’d race to the pier and wait for the ship on of the seven docks, and she always picked the right one. The townspeople couldn’t figure out how she always knew the correct dock, but what amazed them the most was Patsy Ann was born deaf and couldn’t hear the whistles. But somehow she knew when a ship was coming in.
She was given the title as the “Official Greeter” by Juneau’s mayor in 1934, and for twelve years Patsy Ann waited in good and harsh weather conditions to greet each ship’s crew and passengers. During the 1930’s she was the most famous dog west of the Mississippi. Patsy Ann died on March 30, 1942. The the day after, townspeople gathered at the pier and sadly watched as her small coffin was lowered into the frigid waters. A life-size bronze statue sits on the same pier where she continues her duties as Official Greeter of Juneau, Alaska.
Jim the Wonder Dog was a Louisiana born black and white Llewellyn Setter. His parents were champion hunting dogs. Sam Van Arsdale bought the pup and took him home to be trained to hunt. Jim didn’t take to training, however, and stayed under a shade tree watching the trainer work with Van Arsdale’s other dogs. But, once Jim was in the field he knew exactly what to do, held a perfect point, and fetched birds on command. He seemed to know where to find Quail and if none were in the area, he refused to hunt. He was so good Outdoor Life Magazine crowned him “The Hunting Dog of the Country.” Jim had earned a reputation as a premium hunting dog.
Jim was three when Van Arsdale moved to Sedalia Missouri, bought a motel, and discovered hunting was only one of Jim’s amazing abilities. He could predict future events. He successfully picked the winners of seven Kentucky Derbies and World Series games. He understood commands in any language, Morse Code, and had an uncanny ability to pick out trees by their names, find a specific car in a parking lot by the license plate number, or find people in a crowd by their profession or with a description of their clothing. His seemingly impossible feats were tested by a skeptical head veterinarian at the University of Missouri School of Veterinary Medicine, college professors and students, psychiatrists from Washington University in St. Louis, as well as the Missouri Legislature. Jim completed every task he was asked. Needless to say, everyone was dumbfounded and no one could explain how a dog was able to do everything Jim did. Their only conclusion was he had a power beyond anyone’s comprehension. Van Arsdale never took advantage of Jim’s abilities to predict sports events and never gambled or accepted any money from anyone. Jim died on March 18, 1937 and was buried just outside Ridge Park Cemetery in Marshall, Missouri. Although, now his grave is inside the cemetery and has more visitors than any of the other graves. Jim the Wonder Dog Garden sits on the spot where the motel Van Arsdale owned and lived once stood, on the northwest corner of the square in Marshall.
Sallie was a brindle colored Staffordshire Terrier and mascot of the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment. In the months leading up to the Civil War in 1861, five week old Sallie was given to the regiment while they trained outside West Chester, PA. She quickly earned the men’s admiration and she adored them.
Sallie knew the drum roll for reveille and was the first one to roll call. As they went through their drills, Sallie picked a soldier and strutted beside him. During dress parades she proudly sat next to the regimental colors. Her first taste of battle came in 1862. She marched along with the colors and continued the practice in battle after battle. When fighting broke out, her place was at the front lines and she raced around barking fiercely at Confederate soldiers.
The three day battle at Gettysburg was the turning point of the war, but it was also the bloodiest. The first day of fighting, the 11th Pennsylvania was driven back. Sallie became lost, but was found three days later at the original position where the regiment was before pulling back. She was standing guard over fallen soldiers from her unit. Sallie was killed on February 6, 1865 at the battle of Hatcher’s Run just a few months before General Lee surrendered at Appomattox. As the regiment advanced, they found her body on the battlefield. Under heavy fire, the heartbroken soldiers buried Sallie on the spot where she fell.
Surviving members of the regiment dedicated a monument in 1890 to their 11th Pennsylvania comrades who died during the Battle of Gettysburg. The monument stands on Oak Ridge in the Gettysburg Battlefield. At the base is a bronze statue of Sallie. She was adored by the men and they wanted her included in their monument to make sure she was remembered along with the fallen men she loved. To this day people who visit her statue leave dog treats to honor a brave and loyal dog who marched into battle with soldiers from the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.
Pictured: Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Patsy Ann Statue, Jim the Wonder Dog, Sallie
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