A Tribute To The Dog

I found the following piece of literature in a 1959 National Geographic magazine that I own. It is part of a huge collection that I purchased from an estate.

This writing can also be found inscribed on “The Old Drum Memorial” in Warrensburg Missouri and was written in 1870.

A Tribute To The Dog

A speech made by the late Senator Vest of Missouri in the trial of a man at Warrensburg, who had wantonly shot a dog belonging to a neighbor. Mr. Vest represented the plantiff, who demanded $200. damages.

As a result of the following speech, the jury, after two minutes of deliberation awarded the plantiff $500.

Gentlemen of the jury: The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and good name, may become traitors to their faith.

The money a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most. A mans reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud above our head.

The ONE absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his DOG.

“Gentlemen of the jury, a man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side.

He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a Prince.

When all other friends desert he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens. If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight his enemies, and when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even in death.

Courtesy of “The Daily Star- Journal” Warrensburg MO dated 1870

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