For the Love of a Gun Dog
By Matt Soberg
While perusing the numerous bird dog websites learning about different breeds, I was struck by the overwhelming love the breeders have for their companions. One such breeder posted the story below that impressed me.
The quote is a closing argument by an attorney in regards to a prosecution of someone who killed another’s dog companion. I love the history of the story and the meaningfulness of its sentiments. You have to love old-time attorney arguments.
Read the words carefully. They ring true.
“From remarks to a jury by a 19th century lawyer when a man’s dog, named Drum, was shot. Drum’s owner, heartbroken, sued the man who shot him. After the attorney’s summation, the jury was in tears. They fined the offender $500, even though the maximum fine for such an egregious offense was only $150.”
“Gentlemen of the jury, the best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son and daughter that he has reared with loving care may become 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 when he may need it most. Man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees and 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 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 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 the 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 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.
–George Vest, 1870.