Happy Valentine’s Day

This special day is set aside to remind those we love of how much we appreciate them.  In so doing, it deserves a special remembrance of “man’s best friend.”  To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we offer what may be the most stirring accolade ever given on behalf of the dog.  Herewith, my valentine’s present to all who love and care for our furry friends:

 

George Graham Vest – Tribute to the Dog

George Graham Vest (1830-1904) served as U.S. Senator from Missouri from 1879 to 1903 and became one of the leading orators and debaters of his time. This delightful speech is from an earlier period in his life when he practiced law in a small Missouri town. It was given in court while representing a man who sued another for the killing of his dog. During the trial, Vest ignored the testimony, and when his turn came to present a summation to the jury, he made the following speech and won the case.

Gentlemen of the Jury: The best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most. A man’s 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 upon our heads.

The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. 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 him against danger, to fight against his enemies. And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes his 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 the 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.

George Graham Vest – c. 1855

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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8 Responses to Happy Valentine’s Day

  1. Marie Grime February 13, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    That is so wonderful — and so appropriate to celebrate the day of love!

    No one else in our lives plays such a significant part where love is concerned. No other relationship is as lasting. And when they leave us, we may embrace another pet but we never really get over the loss of the one who moved on.

    If my dogs I lost aren’t in Heaven waiting for me, I’m not sure I want to go there.

  2. Cindy Wilson February 13, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    Beautiful. If only human relationships could be so loving. Our animals truly know the meaning of unconditional love.

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Norman W Wilson, PhD February 13, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

    What a beautiful tribute to one of man’s oldest friends.

  4. barbara peterson February 13, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    Wonderful speech! I so enjoy your blog.

  5. Heidi M. Thomas February 13, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

    Lovely, Patricia! Happy Valentines Day to you and your loved ones!

  6. Bill Thorn February 13, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    A beautiful characterization of our furry friends. While cats aren’t as expressive, they can be very connected too!

  7. Kathleen Kaska February 13, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    This brought a tear to my eye and reminded me when I first felt unconditional love. It was a day in January 1976 when I plucked a fury brown pup from a crowded cage at the Waco Humane Society. I had to pay $5 to take him home. It was the best investment I’d ever made.

  8. Samm February 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    I just returned from vacation and couldn’t wait to read your latest blog. It was so moving it also brought a tear to my eye. What a perfect Valentines Day present, it was also our anniversary.

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