Below are excerpts from attorney and US Senator George Graham Vest's Eulogy on the dog speech, given while Vest was representing a man who sued another for the killing of his dog, Drum. The trial took place in a small Missouri town. According to the recollection of Thomas T. Crittenden, counsel for the defendant and later governor of Missouri, it was as perfect a piece of oratory as was ever heard. Court, jury, lawyers, and the audience were all entranced. Vest won the case and the jury awarded his client $500 which was in excess of the maximum allowable damages of $150. George Graham Vest died 1904.
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 whom he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. 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. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer.
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 ints 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 grave side will the noble dog be found, his head beneath his paws, his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.