Origin of the saying "Dog is a Man's Best Friend"

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by angela1214, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. angela1214

    angela1214 New Member

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    Today, I was talking to a fellow law school classmate about our old college town, Warrensburg, MO. Warrensburg's biggest claim to fame is that it is the city where the phrase "dog is a man's best friend" originated. Some of you may have heard this story, but I'm guessing many of you haven't. In 1870, a farmer shot a neighbor's dog, Old Drum. Old Drum's owner sued for damages (and won $50), and the lawyer gave a speech to the jury about how a dog is a better friend than most humans. The speech has been named "Tribute to a Dog" or "Eulogy to a Dog." Here it is:

    "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 whom 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 good name -- may become traitors in 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 absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- 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 poverty, in health and sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow, and the snow drives fiercely, if only he can 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 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 against 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 to death."


    If you go to the courthouse in Warrensburg (where the lawyer gave the speech), you will find a statue of Old Drum and an inscription of the speech. For more info, here's a website about the story:

    Missouri Digital Heritage: Education : Man's Best Friend - The Old Drum Story
     
  2. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Oh my! *gasp, sniff*.... that is one of the most beautiful things I ever read. It is really touching and so true to my heart. Thanks for sharing. How very interesting how it came to be, but a sad story. :(
     
  3. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

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    Now be truthful, how many of us did that choke up?

    It did to me, and it felt good.
     
  4. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    I will look to Warrensburg with a different perspective from now on. My faith in the courts there in not to long ago events made me feel that itwas a heartless town. Glad to know that at one time things were different. I very much enjoyed reading this. Next time I pass through I will look for Old Drum. WHat a grand name for a dog.:thumbsupsmileyanim:
     
  5. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    It did more than choke me up. I had tears running down my cheeks. I'm such an emotional wuss sometimes. It was worded so eloquently and hit at the core of what so many of us feel about dogs, I think.
     

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