Over 100 years ago, when Queen Victoria still sat on the throne and the world was experiencing a technological revolution, dogs were sometimes used to collect coins from passers-by which were then passed onto various charities.
One of the most well-known of all these collectors, was a dog by the name of Station Jim. Initially sickly and unwell when he turned up at the Slough Train Station one day in the late 1800s, Jim was nursed back to health and when he was big enough was fitted with a small collection box.
Jim would then roam the station, occasionally climbing onto trains and walking down the aisles, and perform tricks to get people to drop coins into his box. When someone donated a coin, he would thank them with a short bark.
Jim was one of the cleverest of all the canine collectors, known to beg, bow and even stand on his hind legs to entice donations from people walking past. He had a reputation as being friendly and calm, and children would specifically look out for him at the station. At the end of the day, the coins were removed from his box and donated to the Great Western Railways Widows and Orphans Fund.
Unfortunately, Jim was wasn’t a particularly healthy dog and he died after a couple of years, but in that time he raised what would be equivalent today to thousands of dollars.
After Jim died, his body was preserved and still remains in a glass case on Platform 5 at Slough Station, where passers-by can still drop coins into a box for charity. There have been books and movies made about Station Jim, and he stands as a reminder that sometimes having a mascot can be a sure-fire path to fundraising success.