It has been said that much can be determined about the character of a man by studying the way he treats animals.
A gentle touch shows strength, but the brutes of the world just cannot see that.
The dog’s story. The tiny book Beautiful Joe tells this story with such grace, through the eyes of a dog bearing that name.
The cur pup who was anything but beautiful started out his life, nameless, on the dairy farm of Jenkins. The pup’s mother, Jess, accompanied Jenkins on his early morning milk route and tried her hardest to earn the man’s acceptance and respect in spite of his hateful temperament.
“From morning to night, we had to sneak about, keeping out of Jenkins’ way as much as we could, and yet trying to keep him in sight. He always sauntered about with a pipe in his mouth, and his hands in his pockets, growling first at his wife and children and then at his dumb creatures,” the dog tells in this story.
Almost unbearable. When the pup tells of the morning his littermates were pulled from the nest and their lives ended with incomprehensible cruelty, his life spared for no particular reason, the account is so movingly written that it is almost unbearable to read.
“Mother picked up all the puppies and brought them to our nest in the straw and licked them, and tried to bring them back to life; but it was of no use; they were quite dead.”
Rescued. Eventually, after the death of the mother dog and the punishment of her only remaining pup, Beautiful Joe is rescued by a caring man going past on a bicycle.
Hearing the pup’s cries of agony at the hand of Jenkins, the now disfigured dog is rescued and taken to a good and caring home.
This story, written in 1893, was a gift to me by a dear Farm and Dairy friend, Bill Choma, who has become family to us.
Precious. This little book is among my most precious possessions, and I have read it through and through many times. It is a reminder of good overpowering evil over the course of time.
For as long as humans and animals have existed, there have always been those who are respectful of the animals who cannot speak for themselves, and those who will take advantage of their power they can lord over the creatures who have no voice.
The book Beautiful Joe closes with, “Boys and girls, be kind to dumb animals, not only because you will lose nothing by it, but because you ought to, for they were placed on the earth by the same kind hand that made all living creatures.”
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