In Memory of a Long Time and Faithful Companion|
"Bear" Dudley Vallas
This one is a little different ---- we had to let go of old Bear the other day - a faithful companion for almost 16 years.
He came to us a stray and, after two weeks of advertising in both papers (we had two back then), no one had claimed him -- which was a good thing because he and I had become great buddies by then. He was probably about 1 year old when we found him - he was maybe a bit over 17 years when he went home.
So, if you happen to live in Pecan Grove (Tx) and see a not-so-young guy walking in the evening, talking (apparently) to himself, pausing at stop signs, fire hydrants and street lights, don't worry - it's probably just me unable (or unwilling yet) to fully break the routine.
Bear was a Samoyed - a Sammie - and, while probably not quite show quality, he was otherwise the embodiment of the Sammie nature and character - he all but glowed in the dark and lived with a twinkle in his dark brown, intelligent eyes and wearing an unfailing "Sammie smile."
If you drove past us on our evening walk - you WOULD look. If your kids were in the car - they WOULD be plastered against the windows. If you met us on foot - you wouldn't be able to resist petting AND speaking to him - entranced by his proud yet fully approachable gait and bearing. He was, at once, gentle and companionable with the characteristic inquisitive, quick-witted and ever so slightly mischievous personality that WOULD make you forget that he was, after all, a dog. He was a loyal and loved companion, slap dab in the middle of every family activity from the first day he found us - and we miss him terribly - though probably, only another Sammie owner can really understand the hole Bear's loss has caused us.
I would NEVER have chosen a Samoyed or any other longhaired white breed. Heck! I grew up with German Shepherds - and my wife with Elk Hounds - you know - "manly" dogs. But I guess God deemed us ready, worthy and up to the challenge of a Samoyed - and now, after 16 years, I couldn't even begin to suggest a better breed for the family pet. Just be sure that you are ready for the responsibility of an extremely intelligent, active and participative new family member.
Anyway - below is a little thing that I sort of like - though you may have to be a dog-lover to appreciate it - and a Sammie owner to FULLY appreciate it ... and, of course, there are a few more "Bear pictures" as well :-) --- and be sure to take a look at "The Story of Rainbow Bridge" toward the bottom of this page - especially if you have ever lost a loved pet (but be ready for a little tightening of the throat :-)
Eulogy on the Dog.
BY GEORGE G. VEST.
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 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 honor 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 man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog.
Gentlemen 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 encounter 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.
ONE of the most famous speeches ever made by the late Senator Vest, of Missouri; was made in the course of the trial of a man who had wantonly shot a dog belonging to a neighbor. Vest represented the
plaintiff, who demanded $200 damages. When Vest finished speaking, the jury, after two minutes deliberation, awarded the plaintiff $500. The full text of the speech is printed above.
We miss old Bear something fierce :-(