Bum the dog

Bum the dog

Pocket Park, 410 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92101, USA

Bum the Dog was a stray in the 1890s. According to the History Center, he arrived on a boat without an owner or any identification and made himself at home in his new town. “He was really owned by nobody but loved by everybody, and he became a symbol of the new San Diego community,” said Miller. Today, a statue of that beloved dog can be found in San Diego’s Gaslamp District, sitting sweetly as if to invite a pet from a passerby in the city where he was a friend to all. Much of what is known of Bum’s life comes from his close companion and biographer James Edward Friend, a journalist who often wrote of his exploits about town in a colorful blend of fact and fantasy. According to Friend, Bum was born in San Francisco in July 1886 to a stray, who along with all but one of her puppies was put down. A fire company took Bum in as their station pet, but he soon proved too independent-minded for domestic life, earning the St. Bernard-Spaniel mix his trampish title. Legend has it that Bum then boarded the steamboat Santa Rosa as a stowaway, arriving to San Diego in December where he met Friend not long after. “For several days he visited points of interest in the boom-coming town,” Friend writes, adding that a fisherman provided the dog with a place to sleep. Life in his adopted city wasn’t always easy, however. During a skirmish with a bulldog at the rail yard, the two were hit by a train, severing part of Bum’s front right foot and killing the other dog. After healing from the incident, Bum’s demeanor changed, noted Friend, as he “chose a life of gentlemanly leisure.”

Scroll to Top