Railroad Jack was awesome. Yes, that is a tad ahistorical, but hear me out. I’ve spent years studying famous dogs and Jack has always stood out to me as special. This little mutt packed more adventure into his short life than most people do. Here are just a few things I love about Jack.
- Jack was so famous that he was kidnapped to be a feature of a sideshow. There are advertisements that use Jack as a means to entice visitors. And his railroad friends almost had to resort to extreme measures to get him back.
- In 1890, Jack survived a stabbing. Despite taking a serious wound to the chest in an era of less-than-professional veterinary care, the little dog barely let it slow him down.
- He went on a cross-country (and to Mexico and Cuba) trip in 1892 during which people gave him the most random collection of items, including human skulls. He came back with multiple trunks and bags full of “gifts.”
That’s just the merest sampling of Jack’s story. I believe that his story is not only sensational fun, but also quite telling about the history of how we humans have related to other animals and how those relationships have changed drastically over time.
Follow along here as I try to solve the final mystery of Jack’s story: what happened to his taxidermied body and all of his belongings after he died. Please reach out with any suggestions you might have!