According to Wikipedia, the bottomless source of information, the saying “a man’s best friend” originated from the closing speech given by a lawyer in Missouri in 1870.
Acting on behalf of a farmer whose dog had been shot by a neighbour, the lawyer won the case by compelling the jury with a heartfelt speech. The following is a short extract:
“The one absolutely unselfish friend that a 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 wintery winds blow and the snow drives fierce, if only he may be near his master’s side.”
I’m certain that dog lovers are plentiful amongst the readership of this fine publication. For many, myself included, our four-legged friends feature as such a significant and dependable part of our daily lives that we almost take them for granted. Only when they are gone do we realise just what an important contribution they made to our well-being and happiness.
It is in these sad circumstances that I have recently found myself. The empty void is most apparent when I am out on the farm crop walking. I am so accustomed to getting out of the pickup and automatically going to the back of the truck to let him out. Watching him bounding back and forth across the field, all the while keeping an eye on my progress and often hurrying over to say hello. My dog was always delighted to see me and he had an amazing ability to make me smile and be content.
This month’s column is dedicated to Hoover. Rest In Peace my dearest friend.
Seth Pascoe is assistant manager on North Paddock Farms, at Taber, southern Alberta, Canada. Crops on the 1,800 acres of irrigated sandy-loam include potatoes for McCain Foods, durum and soft wheat, GM oilseed rape for seed and timothy for hay.