Dog Jim was first brought to Slough station when he was about three months old.
He was like a ball of wool then, and could be carried about in an overcoat
pocket. The first trick taught him was to get over the stairs of the footbridge,
and he learnt it so well that he never once crossed the metals from the time he
was brought here to the time of his death.
He started his duties as Canine Collector for the Great Western Railway
Widows? and Orphans? Fund when he was about four months old but, because he
was in bad health, he was only actually collecting about two years or so. Yet he
managed to place about #40 to the account of the Fund. He only once had a piece
of gold put in his box - a half sovereign. On several occasions half crowns were
found, but the majority of the coins he collected were pennies and halfpennies.
After a time he was taught to bark whenever he received a coin, which caused a
great deal of amusement to his numerous patrons. One Sunday during the summer of
1896, a hospital parade was organised at Southall, and his trainer was asked to
take him up there to collect. The result was that when his boxes were opened by
the Treasurer 265 coins were in them. There were
only about five pieces of silver, but when it is remembered that he barked for
each coin given him, this must be regarded as a good afternoon?s work.
His railway journeys were few in number. On
one occasion he went to Leamington; that was his longest ride. Another time he
got into a train and went to Paddington, but was seen by one of the guards and
promptly sent back again. Another day he got into a train and was taken into
Windsor. The officials saw him, and wanted to put him in the next train home,
but he would not agree to that, and walked back through Eton.
He knew a great many amusing tricks. He would sit up and beg, or lie down and
?die?; he could make a bow when asked, or stand up on his hind legs. He
would get up and sit in a chair and look quite at home with a pipe in his mouth
and cap on his head. He would express his feelings in a very noisy manner when
he heard any music. If anyone threw a lighted match or a piece of lighted paper
on the ground he would extinguish it with a growl. If a ladder was placed
against the wall he would climb it. He would play leap frog with the boys; he
would escort them off the station if told to do so, but would never bite them.
At a St. John?s Ambulance Examination held at this station he laid down on one
of the stretchers and allowed himself to be bandaged up with the rest of the
?injured?. He was a splendid swimmer and a very good house dog.
He died suddenly in his harness on the platform on the evening of November 19th
1896, and was afterwards placed here by voluntary contributions from a number of
the residents in Slough and the staff at the station.