abandoned house

Sold – An Abandoned House That Has Gone to the Dogs and the WWI Dog That Lived There

An Abandoned House That Has Gone to The Dogs and the WWI Dog That Lived There

214 Colvin St E, Syracuse, NY 13205 $1,000 Sold for $1,000

Like many abandoned houses in Syracuse, New York, this home has stood vacant for many years. A buyer has recently been found for the unoccupied Colonial Revival. What makes this house different from all the other neglected houses in town, however, is not that it may have found a savior, but the heartwarming story behind the crumbling plaster and water-damaged floors. It’s the story of a man and his dog.

Constructed in 1906 at a cost of $3,500, the home was built and owned by C.R. Brown. But by the 1920s, it was home to a dog known as Jack. Jack was born around 1910 and served as a German police dog during World War I. More than 50,000 military dogs were in service during WWI. Some were messengers or hauled machine guns and supply carts.  Others were rat catchers or first-aid dogs.


With his keen sense of sight , hearing and smell, Jack had been trained by the German army to guard and patrol munitions, barracks and trenches. After the war, many of the canines were abandoned, while a few were adopted and brought to the states by American soldiers, the famous German Shepherd Rin Tin Tin being one of them.



Per an article in the September 11th, 1921 issue of the Syracuse Herald, Jack was there when the German army withdrew from their position at the Hindenburg line in France in October 1918. The German army left behind a great number of dogs which had been used by them in their offensives.

Dr. Scott R. Fisher, a Syracuse resident, was at Hindenburg working with the Red Cross to care for Americans. When Jack spotted Dr. Fisher, he stuck to him and refused to leave his side – ensuring he found a way to be with Fisher his entire way back to base. Dr. Fisher told the paper that, “such devotion deserves reward,” and decided to take Jack back home with him.

The article further explained, “Jack was stowed away in an overcrowded ship which was bringing American soldiers home and where each man was allowed only a certain poundage of baggage. Dr. Fisher shared his own rations with Jack because dog food was not available in the ship’s stores.” When they arrived back in America, the pair settled here in this house on Syracuse’s Southside.

I can imagine Jack excitingly greeting Dr. Fisher at the front door after he returned each day from his medical office. I can hear Jacks’s feet clicking on the hardwood floors, and smell his wet fur as the good doctor bathed him in the tub upstairs.

The house at 214 Colvin Street E may have gone to the dogs, but as long as the house still stands, Jack’s story lives on.


01 March 1910 Syracuse Post Standard


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