by lyle e
There’s a reason
they’ve been called “man’s best friend.”
You’d have to look
long and hard to find any human being as loving and as loyal as a dog. They are forgiving,
no matter how inconsiderate we sometimes are about them . . . they recognize
that we are only . . . well, human.
Here are a few
stories that will amply demonstrate the love, the affection, the loyalty
displayed by dogs. Warning: have a box of Kleenex handy. Some of these stories are going to bring a
tear or two to your eyes:
I just got back from my Valkyrie
act, taking all 5 dogs to the vet for heartworm checks by myself. Of course, I
asked for the first appointment of the day, to avoid the craziness of Saturday
When I walked in with my five, I was surprised to see a knot
of people in the back room. The door was open. The vet still had her coat on.
And I could see they were performing CPR on a large Rottie.
The tech came out and apologized for the fact that I'd have to wait. No
problem. Do what you have to do, I said. I can wait all day. They left the door
open. Beckett stood and watched it all intently, never taking his eyes off the
Finally, a guy in sweats came out and told me what was going
on. He'd been jogging through the parking lot when he heard a man he had just
passed cry out, "Oh, no, Charlie." And then, "Help, I think he's
This man had called in on his car phone to tell the clinic
he was bringing in his 2 year old Rottie, Charlie.
Charlie had been vomiting last night, and this morning was
unable to get up and appeared to be very sick. He loaded him in the car,
calling the clinic on the way there. He got there as the tech was opening up,
and left Charlie in the car until the vet arrived, since Charlie weighed 150
pounds, and he wanted a gurney to get him in. As the vet arrived, the guy went
back out to the car to check on the dog, as the vet and the tech prepared to
follow him out with the gurney. That's when he found Charlie apparently dead,
and the jogger turned back to help them.
When they got Charlie inside, moments before I got there
with my gang, they found a faint heart beat and attempted to revive him. The
jogger came out to talk to me just as they were giving up, after about 20
minutes of CPR.
Meanwhile, Beckett never took his eyes off the goings-on in
the back room. The rest of the gang were lying down or milling around, but
Beckett was like a statue watching that back room. We had a clear view of
everything, and he was watching it all. He watched as they rolled the gurney
out to us, and out the door. He watched as they loaded Charlie's body back into
the car. He watched as the group of people came back inside. The owner sat down
in the chair next to me and put his head in his hands and sobbed.
Beckett watched. And watched. After
about a minute, Beckett quietly moved around the rest of my gang, and walked
over to the man, and very slowly slid his head under the man's hands and hid
his face in the man's lap. And then just stood there.
That's when the vet and the tech and I looked at each other and all lost it at
the same moment.
Then the man lifted his head and looked down at Beckett, who
still had his face hidden against the man's belly, and was still standing there
as quiet as a statue. The man spread his hands and sat looking down at the back
of Beckett's neck, somewhat bewildered, and then he looked up at us, with his
hands still spread, as if to say, "What's this?" Then Beckett looked
up at him, and kissed his face, and the man threw his arms around Beckett and
hid his face against Beckett's neck and cried for about another minute.
Then he stood up, wiped his arm over his face, gave us a
little sad, smile, and walked out. No one said anything. Beckett walked over to
the door and watched him leave, then he turned back to
me, licked my face once, and laid down on the floor next to my chair.
The vet, the tech and I just sort of looked at one another,
and then began to weigh the dogs and get on with things. None of us mentioned
what had just occurred until later, when the vet finished drawing Beckett's
blood. She was kneeling next to him on the floor and when she finished, she put
her arm around him, and looked up at me and said, "What a wonderful dog -
he just took care of all of us, didn't he?"
"Yes," I said, "He's something special. I
think I'll keep him."
And I think I will.
Author: Ginny Lunt
"Tribute to the Dog"
It is strange how
tenaciously popular memory clings to the bits of eloquence men have uttered,
long after their deeds and most of their recorded thoughts are forgotten, or
but indifferently remembered. However, whenever and as long as the name of the
late Senator George Graham Vest of Missouri is mentioned it
will always be associated with his love for a dog.
Many years ago, in
1869, Senator Vest represented in a lawsuit, a plaintiff whose dog "Old
Drum" had been willfully and wantonly shot by a neighbor. The defendant
virtually admitted the shooting, but questioned to the jury the $150 value
plaintiff attributed to this mere animal.
To give his
closing argument, George Vest rose from his chair, scowling, mute, his eyes
burning from under the slash of brow tangled as a grape vine. Then he stepped
sideways, hooked his thumbs in his vest pockets, his gold watch fob hanging
motionless, it was that heavy. He looked, someone
remembered afterwards, taller than his actual 5 feet 6 inches, and began in a
quiet voice to deliver an extemporaneous oration. It was quite brief, less than
"Gentlemen of the jury: the best friend a man has in
the world may turn against him and become his worst 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 man has, he may lose. It
flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it the 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 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
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."
deliberated less than two minutes then erupted in joint pathos and triumph. The
record becomes quite sketchy here, but some in attendance say the plaintiff who
had been asking $150, was awarded $500 by the jury. Little does that matter.
The case was eventually appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court, which refused
to hear it.
A statue of
"Old Drum" was erected on the Johnson County
Courthouse Square in
Missouri, where the trial
occurred. The statue still stands there today.
The Gift of Courage
Mark was about
eleven years old, skinny and slouching, when he and his mom first brought Mojo into the clinic where I worked. Baggy clothes dwarfed
the boy's small frame, and under a battered baseball hat, challenging blue eyes
glared at the world. Clearly we had to earn Mark's trust before we could do
anything with his dog. Mojo was around nine then, old
for a black Labrador retriever, but not too old to still have fun. Though recently it seemed that Mojo had
lost all his spunk. Mark
listened intently as the doctor examined his dog, answered questions and asked
more, while nervously brushing back wisps of blond hair that escaped the hat
onto his furrowed brow. "Mojo's going to be okay
isn't he?" he blurted as the doctor turned to leave. There were no
guarantees, and when the blood work came back, the doctor's suspicions were
confirmed. Mojo had liver and kidney disease,
progressive and ultimately fatal. With care he could live comfortably awhile,
but he'd need special food, regular checkups and medications. The doctor and I
knew finances were a struggle, but the moment euthanasia was suggested, Mark's
mom broke in. "We're not putting Mojo to
sleep." Quickly and quietly they paid their bill and gently led their old
dog out to the car without a backward glance.
We didn't hear
from them for a few weeks, but then one day, there they were. Mojo had lost weight. He'd been sick they said, and he
seemed listless. As I led Mojo back to the treatment
room for some IV fluid therapy, Mark's little body blocked the way.
"I have to go
with him—-he needs me," the boy said firmly.
I wasn't sure how
Mark would handle the sight of needles and blood, but there didn't seem any
point in arguing. And indeed, Mark handled it all as if he'd seen it a million
such a brave old guy, Mojo," Mark murmured as
the catheter slipped into Mojo's vein. We seldom had
a more cooperative patient. Mojo only moved his head
slightly during uncomfortable procedures, as if to remind us that he was still
there. He seemed to take strength from the small, white hand that continually
moved in reassurance over his grizzled throat.
This became the pattern. We'd get Mojo
stabilized somewhat, send him home, he'd get sick again, and they'd be back.
Always, Mark was there, throwing out questions and reminders to be careful, but
mostly encouraging and comforting his old pal.
I worried that
Mark found it too difficult, watching, but any hint that maybe he'd rather wait
outside was flatly rejected. Mojo needed him.
Mark's mom one day, while Mark and Mojo were in the
other room, "You know Mojo's condition is
getting worse. Have you thought any more about how far you want to go with
treatment? It looks like Mark is really having a hard time with all this."
hesitated a moment before leaning and speaking in a low, intense voice,
"We've had Mojo since Mark was a baby. They've
grown up together, and Mark loves him beyond all reason. But that's not
She took a deep
breath and looked away momentarily, "Two years ago Mark was diagnosed with
leukemia. He's been fighting it, and they say he has a good chance of
recovering completely. But he never talks about it. He goes for tests and
treatments as if it's happening to someone else, as if it's not real. But about
Mojo, he can ask questions. It's important to Mark,
so as long as he wants to, we'll keep on fighting for Mojo."
The next few weeks
we saw a lot of our little trio. Mark's abrupt questions and observations, once
slightly annoying, now had a new poignancy, and we explained at length every
procedure as it was happening. We wondered how long Mojo
could carry on. A more stoic and good-natured patient was
seldom seen, but the Labrador was so terribly
thin and weak now. All of us as the clinic really worried about how Mark would
handle the inevitable.
Finally the day
came when Mojo collapsed before his scheduled
appointment. It was a Saturday when they rushed him in, and the waiting room
was packed. We carried Mojo into the back room and
settled him on some thick blankets, with Mark at his side as usual. I left to
get some supplies, and when I reentered the room a few moments later I was
shocked to see Mark standing at the window, fists jammed into his armpits, tears
streaming down his face. I backed out of the room noiselessly, not wanting to disturb
him. He'd been so brave up until now. Later when we returned, he was kneeling,
dry-eyed once more, at Mojo's side. His mom sat down
beside him and squeezed his shoulders. "How are you guys doing?" She
he said, ignoring her question, "Mojo's dying,
honey…" her voice broke, and Mark continued as if she hadn't spoken.
mean, the fluids and the pills, they're just not going to help anymore, are
they?" He looked to us for confirmation. "Then I think," he swallowed hard, "I think we should put him to
form, Mark stayed with Mojo until the end. He asked
questions to satisfy himself that it truly was best for Mojo,
and that there would be no pain or fear for his old friend. Over and over again
he smoothed the glossy head, until it faded onto his knee for the last time. As
Mark felt the last breath leave Mojo's thin ribs and
watched the light dim in the kind brown eyes, he seemed to forget about the
rest of us there. Crying openly, he bent himself over Mojo's
still form and slowly removed his cap. With a jolt I recognized the effects of
the chemotherapy, so harsh against such a young face. We left him to his grief.
told us anything about his own illness, or his own feelings throughout Mojo's ordeal, but when his mom called months later to ask
some questions about a puppy she was considering buying, I asked her how he was
know," she said, "it was a terrible time for him, but since Mojo's death, Mark has begun talking about his own
condition, asking questions and trying to learn more about it. I think that
dealing with Mojo when the dog was so sick gave Mark
strength to fight for himself and courage to face his
thought Mark was being brave for Mojo, but when I
remember those calm eyes and gently wagging tail that never failed no matter
how bad he felt, I think maybe Mojo was being brave
Author: Roxanne Willems Snopek
Of Dogs and Angels
years in animal welfare work--I served as the president of the American Society
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals--I have heard wonderful stories about
the power of the human-animal bond. One of my favorites is about a girl and her
very special dog. When the girl was born, her parents were stationed with the
U.S. Army overseas. The tiny baby spiked a fever of 106 degrees and when they
couldn't help her at the military base, the baby and her family were flown home
to the United States where she could
receive the proper medical care.
alarming fever kept recurring, but the baby survived. When the episode was
over, the child was left with thirteen different seizure causes, including
epilepsy. She had what was called multiple seizure syndrome
and had several seizures every day. Sometimes she stopped breathing.
result, the little girl could never be left alone. She grew to be a teenager
and if her mother had to go out, her father or brothers had to accompany her
everywhere, including to the bathroom, which was awkward for everyone involved.
But the risk of leaving her alone was too great and so, for lack of a better
solution, things went on in this way for years.
and her family lived near a town where there was a penitentiary for women. One
of the programs there was a dog-training program. The inmates were taught how
to train dogs to foster a sense of competence, as well as to develop a job
skill for the time when they left the prison. Although most of the women had
serious criminal backgrounds, many made excellent dog trainers and often
trained service dogs for the handicapped while serving their time.
mother read about this program and contacted the penitentiary to see if there
was anything they could do for her daughter. They had no idea how to train a
dog to help a person in the girl's condition, but her family decided that a
companion animal would be good for the girl, as she had limited social
opportunities and they felt she would enjoy a dog's company. The girl chose a
random-bred dog named Queenie and together with the
women at the prison, trained her to be an obedient pet.
But Queenie had other plans. She became a
"seizure-alert" dog, letting the girl know when a seizure was coming
on, so that the girl could be ready for it.
about Queenie's amazing abilities and went to visit
the girl's family and meet Queenie. At one point
during my visit, Queenie became agitated and took the
girl's wrist in her mouth and started pulling her towards the living room
couch. Her mother said, "Go on now. Listen to what Queenie's
went to the couch, curled up in a fetal position, facing the back of the couch
and within moments started to seize. The dog jumped on the couch and wedged
herself between the back of the couch and the front of the girl's body, placing
her ear in front of the girl's mouth. Her family was used to this performance,
but I watched in open-mouthed astonishment as the girl finished seizing and Queenie relaxed with her on the couch, wagging her tail and
looking for all the world like an ordinary dog,
playing with her mistress.
girl and her dog went to the girl's bedroom as her parents and I went to the
kitchen for coffee. A little while later, Queenie
came barreling down the hallway, barking. She did a U-turn in the kitchen and
then went racing back to the girl's room.
having a seizure," the mother told me. The girl's father got up, in what
seemed to me a casual manner for someone whose daughter often stopped
breathing, and walked back to the bedroom after Queenie.
must have been evident on my face because the girl's mother smiled and said,
"I know what you're thinking, but you see, that's
not the bark Queenie uses when my daughter stops
I shook my
head in amazement. Queenie, the self-taught angel,
proved to me once again how utterly foolish it is to suppose that animals don't
think or can't communicate.
"He is your friend, your partner,
your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be
yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to
be worthy of such devotion."
Those of us
who have had dogs in our families (for they do become members of the family)
know all too well that the time comes when the dog must be relieved of its
suffering and be put down. It’s not an
easy decision . . . but I’ve done it several times . . . and shed many a tear
afterwards. But I know it was the right
thing to do. I loved my pets too much to
see them suffer. For those of you facing
this dilemma, the following may give you some comfort . . . the thoughts that
your pet might say to you if they could only talk, other than with their eyes:
If it should be that I grow frail and
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done,
For this--the last battle--can't be
You will be sad I understand,
But don't let grief then stay your
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the
We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn't want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.
Take me to where my needs they'll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been
Don't grieve that it must be you
Who has to decide this thing to do;
We've been so close--we two--these
Don't let your heart hold any tears.
Injured Dog Takes Self To Vet
canine in Corbin, Kentucky, sought out his own medical care by limping to a
local veterinarian's office after getting hit by a car.
dog, Scooby, ran away from his owners when his collar ring snapped during a
recent thunderstorm. As he was running across a road a vehicle hit him,
injuring his leg and tail.
somehow walked miles to a local animal clinic and was waiting on the doorstep
when employees arrived for work.
knew this was the place to get help," Scooby's owner Shirley Farris said.
"There are subdivisions with hundreds and hundreds of houses between me
and the vet’s office, there are three lanes and there is a mini mall. How he
knew to take himself to the vet, I don't know."
said Scooby followed them inside and walked straight into the operating room.
called the vet to tell him she'd lost her dog and was amazed to learn he had
taken himself to the right place.
involved is amazed at Scooby's ability not only to find his way through yards
and across roads, but with an injury.
will like to say it was the barking and the smell," Corbin Animal Clinic
Dr. Gerald Majors said. "But we'd like to think he was smart enough to be
here. He's been here a few times, he is smart, he knew
expected to recover from his injuries.
Gray (also known as "Jock") was an Edinburgh policeman during the
1850s. His companion and police watch-dog was a Skye Terrier
named Bobby. The relationship between man and dog, however, was short-lived
when Gray died of tuberculosis in 1858 and was buried in Greyfriars
followed the funeral procession, but was taken home afterward. However, the
little dog soon escaped and took up residence on his master's grave. Various
people took pity on the forlorn little fellow.
Brown, the church gardener, provided Bobby with food and water, even though his
duties included keeping dogs and children out of the graveyard.
who lived nearby, would try to coax Bobby into his house during inclement
weather, but the dog would howl so pitifully to be let out that eventually, a
shelter was built for him near the grave.
expression of devotion quickly made the small dog a local celebrity in
Edinburgh. It is possible that some decided to make money from Bobby's loyalty.
John Traills, the owner of Traills
Coffee House located near the graveyard, would tell of how Bobby and Gray had
been regular lunchtime visitors to his establishment. Traills
also maintained that he was the first to notice Bobby's obsession with lying on
his master's grave, stating that the dog arrived one
lunchtime shortly after Gray's death, demanded his meal and then took
off purposefully. According to Traills, his curiousity led him to follow Bobby and, to his amazement,
he found the dog by the grave in the kirkyard. It is
not known how this story might have affected the patronage of Traills' establishment, although one can assume it was not
Skye Terrier remained at Gray's grave for the rest of
his life . . . a total of 14 years. However, because Bobby was a stray, there
was some question as to whether he should be allowed to wander the streets of
Edinburgh without a
license. If nobody had been willing to pay, then the penalty for Bobby would
have been death. The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Sir William Chambers, came to
the rescue. He was so impressed by Bobby's devotion that he agreed to purchase
the license . . . and did so for every year thereafter.
Bobby's death on January 14, 1872, the people of
Edinburgh determined that
the small dog should be interred in the kirkyard by
his master. It was an unparalleled decision. A year later, a bronze statue was
erected to Bobby at the crest of Candlemakers Row,
just outside the entrance to the graveyard and opposite the Traills
Coffee House (which is now a public house renamed "Greyfriar's
memorial was commissioned by the famous philanthropist, Baroness Burdett Coutts,
who was intrigued and touched by Bobby's fidelity. The monument was unveiled on
November 15, 1873 without ceremony.
Bobby's statue is the most photographed in Scotland and tourists can
invariably be seen having their pictures taken next to it at all hours of the
acclaim is such that his collar, inscribed with the words: "Greyfriars Bobby from the Lord Provost, 1867,
licensed," and dinner bowl are on display in the
Museum on the Royal
Mile. Today Bobby's grave always displays fresh flowers . . . a mark of the
high esteem in which this little dog is still held and a tribute to the very
human values which he embodied.
never understand how someone could abandon their dog, whether a puppy or full
grown. These animals become attached to
their human, no matter how good or bad that human might have been. A lady by name of Kathy Flood put it down
about right, I think:
A dog sits waiting in the cold autumn
Too faithful to leave,
too frightened to run.
He's been here for days now with
nothing to do
But sit by the road, waiting for you.
He can't understand why you left him
He thought you and he were stopping to
He's sure you'll come back, and that's
why he stays.
How long will he suffer? How many more
His legs have grown weak, his throat's
parched and dry.
He's sick now from hunger and falls,
with a sigh.
He lays down his head and closes his
I wish you could see how a waiting dogs dies.