Senator Vest had been retained as the Attorney of a man whose dog had been wantonly shot by a neighbor. The plaintiff demanded $200.00.

When Vest finished speaking the jury awarded $500.00 without leaving their seats. This is what he said:

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 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 encounter with the roughness of the world. He will guard 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 on its journey through the heavens. If misfortune 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 his embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his grave side 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.”

“There is but one drawback to a dog’s friendship,
It does not last long enough.”

Van Dyke.

When at the close of a wearisome day
Homeward disheartened, you moodily stray,
What would you take for your little dog Tray?
Take for the wag of his tail?
Sitting alone at the old picket gate,
Little dog Tray will patiently wait
Watching: No matter if early or late
Slow is the wag of his tail.
Look! see him start as a form comes in view!
What has the dog with that vision to do?
How does he tell that he knows it is you?
Just by the wag of his tail.
Oh, the wild glee in his rhythmical song
Sung in the motion that keeps him along!
Is it a love that he bears for the throng?
Judge by the wag of his tail.
Swift as the wind he has run to your side,
Eager and happy to show you his pride;
Bounding aloft, then ahead as your guide
Merrily wagging his tail.
No one may know why he loves you so well
Nor if your voice or your face weave the spell
But that he loves you his actions will tell,
Such as the wag of his tail.
Loves you and shares in your hunger and thirst
Riches and poverty, landed or cursed,
Always the same, for the best or the worst
Proved by the wag of his tail.
Love such as his will abide to the end,
Do what you will, distort your ways you may wend,
Hardships and knocks but insure him your friend
Shown by the wag of his tail.
Watchful he sits at your side in repose
Loyal before you he stealthily goes
Eager to champion your cause with your foes
Told by the wag of his tail.
Friendship may fade and earth’s love may grow cold
Chains such as these oft are flimsiest mold,
Love of the dog for his master will hold
Long as the wag of his tail.
Not as a peer, neither cringing like slave
One solemn boon, as the last he may crave,
Little dog Tray sits and moans on your grave
Sad is the way of his tail.
When at the close of a wearisome day
Homeward, disheartened, you moodily stray,
What would you take for your little dog Tray?
Take for the wag of his tail?

By Walter P. Neff.

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