When all other friends desert, he remains.
Seamus, my 13-year old Labrador, died today.
Having suffered with arthritis for too long, this 125-pound brute was finally brought down by a cancerous tumor on his spleen.
The vet sent Seamus on to the angels with humanity and understanding for him, my wife and me.
Even at death’s door Seamus still sported that shiny, soft, black sable coat, outstanding by even Labrador standards, which contrasted so well with the bright red collar we put on him each Christmas.
Stephen E. Ambrose tells the story of Meriwether Lewis, on his famous expedition up the Missouri River with William Clark, in which three Indians stole his dog, Seaman, a Newfoundland for which he had paid $20. This “sent him into a rage.”
Lewis sent three of his men to follow the thieves and told them, “if they made the least resistance or difficulty in surrendering the dog to fire on them.” Fortunately, the Indians released the dog. “Lewis may have been ready to kill to get Seaman back, but the Indians weren’t ready to die for the dog,” said Ambrose.
Lewis had it right. A dog is more than just a mere possession. He is a friend worth fighting for.
In a famous closing argument to a jury in Johnson County, Missouri, on September 23, 1870, U.S. Senator George Graham Vest, representing the plaintiff in a $50 claim for the death of his beloved dog, Old Drum, spoke for all dog lovers when he declared, “a man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness.”
“When all other friends desert, he remains,” said Senator Vest, who also served in the Confederate Congress.
Vest brought the jury to tears with his concluding argument:
Senator Vest’s jury argument has appeared in legal publications in Missouri over the years and was included in William Safire’s collection, Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History (1992).
IF YOU HAVE BEEN to Edinburgh, Scotland, you may have seen the statue of Greyfriars Bobby. Bobby was a Skye Terrier owned by a local constable who died in 1958. However, Bobby continued to visit the constable’s grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard for 14 years, which caused quite a sensation and vindicated Senator Vest completely.
We have 7 children, 8 grandchildren, and countless cousins at the cottage Up North in Wisconsin; but not once did Seamus growl or snarl or show anything but joy toward the countless little ones loving, hugging and piling on top of him. Of course, there was the occasional ice cream cone or hot dog that he pilfered right out of the hand of this or that unsuspecting child.
Seamus was the first water retriever I ever owned. As with the larger breed of Labs, the ones with big wide, webbed paws, a chock-a-block head and a barrel chest, he was an impressive swimmer. Diving off the dock with a huge splash, he would follow the kids canoeing or greet them water skiing back to the pier.
One time he swam out to intercept a small flotilla of ducks, his head jutting out of the water, paws working furiously beneath the surface, pursuing either curiosity or a snack. The kids on the pier were screaming at Seamus, fearing a massacre of the duck family was in progress.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?