How Dogs Became Man’s Best Friend?

  • By: Dog
  • Sep 07, 2009

Ever wondered how dogs became man’s best friend?

In sync with this dog’s promise of bridging the (despised) gap between man and canine, here we’ll explore the origin of the phrase, ‘a dog is a man’s best friend’

Calling me a self-glorifying dog already? Wait, I didn’t come up with this phrase…in fact neither my granddaddy dogs propounded this doctrine either…it was a gentleman from your species who is attributed for coining this immortal phrase. Here in this post, I unearth the relics from the Dog archives and present before you the wonderful tale of Mr Vest…perhaps the best spokesperson that our muted breed ever had!

How Dogs became man's best friend
Mr. Vest’s immortal speech

How dogs became man’s best friend?

The year was 1870, the place was peace court in Warrensburg, Missouri, USA. A short yet historic speech, was delivered by George Graham Vest on behalf of a plaintiff seeking damages from a neighbor for killing his dog(named Drum or Old Drum) in a case entitled, Burden v. Hornsby. During the trial, Vest famously stated that he would “win the case or apologize to every dog in Missouri.”

How dogs became man's best friend

As the case progressed and reached the climatic sequence, none in audience had anticipated what would take place next would go down in the history as a landmark event. Mr. Vest’s closing argument to the jury made no reference to any of the testimony offered during the trial, and instead offered a eulogy of sorts.

Mr Vest’s “Eulogy on the Dog” is one of the most cherished literary masterpieces that were ever written on friendship.

“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 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 honour 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.

Gentleman 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.

Mr Vest’s moving “Eulogy on the Dog” convinced the jury to decide for the plaintiff and became a classic tribute to man’s best friend. There is more to the following great lines than mere words… it is a timeless gem, a transcript that our species holds in reverence…there have never been any greeting cards for my species on any friendship day and nor do we need any; for Mr Vest’s testimonial suffices for our friendship with anthropoids.

dog lovers india
Not all girls have diamonds for best friends, some prefer dogs! ~Image courtesy Neha Khanna

And of course, dogs are a woman’s best friend too!

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35 Replies to “How Dogs Became Man’s Best Friend?”

    1. Indeed Lisa! Perhaps its the most apt testimonial that a human soul could ever scribble as the show of respect for the loyal furry friend of ours!
      I wish someday I too get to visit the Old Drum memorial!

  1. Great site…keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog.

  2. Hello Abhisekh,
    oh you have touched this subject in a very detailed and researched way….it takes a lot of hard work and time to bring up something as good as this for the readers,i am glad i found you.We have a labrador same age that of my daughter….i know how special and intelligent this creature is.I too belong to Almora but we always lived in different parts of India..i love my roots and am very proud of it.Nice meeting you,will be back…my regards.

  3. You took the picture?

    really nice post … even though I am scared of dogs and rather maintain my distance … this piece was moving to even the harshest of haters… good job

  4. I don’t know If I said it already but …Cool site, love the info. I do a lot of research online on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..

  5. you know…at home i always have dogs.I absolutely agree…dog is the best best friend ever.
    tc n cheers…
    so ummm… u coming to sis wedding or not???

    1. Invitation abhi mila tera:) do mail me regarding the celestial affair…the date,the venue…It would be a pleasure to be in attendance at this sanctimonious tie!

  6. awww calvy, you are just getting better and better at this! touchwood, great going, am sure our fav species are wagging in happiness 😀

    1. Thank you Lady:) If my wagging tail is any thing to go by,believe my moistened eyes…I missed you in this web space:) Give my love to Gucci:)

  7. I am grateful to your existence in this world. It became a place to live only because of your love. If you were not to be there dear I dunno what is here to live for. My little darling _ my little buddy who is our main reason of being alive_ be always happy. Why is it that it is always you have to sacrifice for me. I will change the equation. It is me who will die for you and never via versa.

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