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2 famous dogs, one state

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

(Left)Jim the Wonder Dog's likeness is preserved by the statue in the Jim the Wonder Dog Memorial Garden in Marshall (File photo). (Right) Old Drum's statue in Warrensburg (Contributed photo).
(Writer's clarification: State Rep. Dean Dohrman was born in Warrensburg, however, he currently resides and has lived most of his life north of La Monte, in Pettis County.)

A bill making Old Drum Missouri's State Historic Dog has passed the Tourism and Natural Resources Committee and could be scheduled for a vote on the floor of the Missouri House of Representatives. The bill, HB 306, is sponsored by Dennis Hoskins, R-Warrensburg.

And although Old Drum, the famous dog from Warrensburg who inspired a Missouri Supreme Court Justice speech that coined the phrase "man's best friend," would be the designated Historic Dog, the bill also makes room for Jim the Wonder Dog.

If passed, Jim would be "designated as Missouri's Wonder Dog."

The agreement to include both dogs in the bill may have come in light of the fierce battle supporters for both dogs had a year ago in Jefferson City, when three bills were introduced seeking designation for Missouri's Historic Dog.

Former state Rep. Joe Aull, D-Marshall, introduced one of the bills, making Jim the Wonder Dog the state's Historic Dog. Hoskins introduced another one, pleading for the same honor to be bestowed upon his hometown dog, Old Drum.

A third bill, HB 1813, was also introduced in 2012 by Chrissy Sommer, R-St. Charles, which would recognize Seaman, Lewis and Clark's expedition dog, as the dog to represent Missouri. This latter bill did not receive much traction.

Unlike last year, two state legislators now representing the district that encompasses Marshall are from Warrensburg: Rep. Dean Dohrman and Sen. David Pearce. Warrensburg's legislative pull seemed to work in favor of Old Drum, when earlier this year the bill originally introduced by Hoskins made mention of only Old Drum.

Hoskins was not immediately available for comment, but his office said Hoskins was thoughtful of both communities when later making the decision to include Jim on the bill.

"Jim did not appear on the initial version of the bill," said Caitlin Kerber, legislative assistant to Hoskins. "However, after considering how hard the people of Marshall had fought in previous years to include him on similar legislation, Rep. Hoskins felt it was only right that both dogs receive recognition."

Pearce, whose district represents both Warrensburg and Marshall, said he would support the bill in the Senate should it pass the House.

"It's a difficult situation because we represent both communities," Pearce said. "That's like asking which of your children you like better. I think they are both great dogs from great communities."

He said he was glad to see a compromise was reached on the matter.

"I was so glad to see that done," Pearce said. "Both dogs are good for the recognition of both communities. I will absolutely support it."

Larry Arrowood, who is overseeing the construction of the upcoming Jim the Wonder Dog museum and Visitors Center, said he was pleased with the proposed bill.

"Obviously, we would rather it just be one dog, but we are just glad they are willing to consider Jim and his importance not only to Marshall but to the state," Arrowood said.

Arrowood said Donna Huston, of the Friends of Jim the Wonder Dog non-profit, should be praised for her efforts on getting Jim recognized at the state level.

Huston, who also spearheaded 2012's campaign to get Jim Historic State Dog designation, said she was grateful the legislators were considering both communities.

"I am kind of glad the way it turned out," Huston said. "Our representatives, in spite of being from Warrensburg, have really worked hard to include Marshall. If we get the Missouri Wonder Dog designation, I'd love that title."

Contact Carlos Restrepo at crestrepo@marshallnews.com

House Bill 306

Related stories:
Good natured 'dog fight' enlivens House Tourism Committee hearing | Friends of Jim the Wonder Dog make their case for historic dog designation
Race heats up for state historic dog designation

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MM said; "This story and these comments make me homesick for the MDN."

Get used to homesickness Maggie. I am of the strong opinion that you will experience a series of such bouts as you continue to move upward, and onward girl. :)

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Wed, Mar 20, 2013, at 5:31 PM

Also, I sense an MDN poll over this issue ... perhaps my instincts aren't as sharp though from three hours away.

-- Posted by Maggie Menderski on Wed, Mar 20, 2013, at 5:23 PM

This story and these comments make me homesick for the MDN. Well done Carlos and well argued Marshall community.

-- Posted by Maggie Menderski on Wed, Mar 20, 2013, at 5:20 PM

It really sounds to me that Jim the Wonder Dog is getting the short end of the stick or "the shaft"! He did all of these remarkable feats, never was used to make personal financial gain for his master and really had the attitude of an unachiever. Yet he was a wonderful family pet and companion.

On the other hand, Old Drum was a farm dog who drew negative attention from a trial because he was shot for killing a neighbors chickens. Anyone from outside of Warrensburg had to listen to countless college professors talk about Old Drum's greatness, it was enough to make you PUKE!

There is no way that constitutes "Old Drum" being named Missouri State dog. I plan to write to Govenor Jay Nixon about this and ask him to repeal the bill. What about you, would you do the same?

It is sad how times, recognition principles and government's ability to recognize fairness have changed, and not for the best!

-- Posted by farmer'sgranddaughter on Wed, Mar 20, 2013, at 3:26 PM

I hadn't thought of that InTheMiddle. I guess we better have our fourth graders tell them to get busy on the important stuff as they don't pay any attention to their voting constituents. Heck who knows they might even listen to the kids over the corporations if you are correct in your analysis. :)

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Tue, Mar 19, 2013, at 10:34 PM

If the legislature didn't discuss this, and it has been done mostly in committee, they would get grief too. Most of these "official state" symbols are proposed by 4th graders. That is when all Missouri students study Missouri History and learn about Missouri government. Schools propose these things to get Missouri youth involved in the process.

Have Missouri legislators tell Missouri 4th graders it is a "load of crap" or "waste of time," and see the uproar by the public for their insensitivity to children.

-- Posted by inthemiddle on Tue, Mar 19, 2013, at 9:18 PM

Doggone, Carlos, it looks as though we are going to avoid another big dog fight this year. Last year's legislative competition was no fun with Jim versus Drum and Seaman in third place. The canine controversy proved that people are loyal to famous deceased dogs.

George Graham Vest was a Missouri Congressman, Confederate Congressman, and U.S. Senator with many historic and legislative accomplishments, all of which take second place to a dog. Vest is best remembered for telling the world that a dog "is a man's best friend." Despite the Warrensburg/Johnson County Old Drum link, Vest has Saline County connections. He owned a summer home at the spring grounds in Sweet Springs during that town's heyday and died there.

The legislative dog fight last year came at an unfortunate time for Warrensburg. The community had planned many months for an Old Drum Festival featuring "Burg Dogs Unleashed." The Burg Dogs were fiberglass dog statutes creatively painted to be placed around town like the long gone, memorable Kansas City Cow Parade, a public art project.

Perhaps in some future year, Marshall will choose to sponsor a similar Wonder Dog Parade. See the first two links for photos of Burg Dogs. The third link is to Cow Painters, a Chicago company that makes the animal statues. Wouldn't it be fun to remember Jim that way some day?




-- Posted by former editor on Tue, Mar 19, 2013, at 4:32 PM

Well put Oklahoma.

It's good to see our legislators putting in so much effort on important issues instead of the pesty things such as unemployment,budget cuts,and the like.Really earning their keep,arn't they?

-- Posted by mo_maxine on Tue, Mar 19, 2013, at 4:27 PM

Aaah the dogged determination of the legislature, splitting a bone to toss a treat to each kennel by overcoming dogmatism.

It is wonderful to see the legislature working together on important issues. It makes us less likely to call them sons of distaff canines. ;)

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Tue, Mar 19, 2013, at 1:46 PM

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