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 wintery 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 encounter 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 wing and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.
~ Senator George Graham Vest – 1855
George Graham Vest (1830-1904) served as U.S. Senator from Missouri from 1879 to 1903 and was one of the leading orators of his time. This speech is from a 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. Ignoring the testimony of the defendant, when his turn came to present a summation to the jury, he made the above speech and won the case, many of the jury members in tears. It gives me chills every time I read it. ~ Jess