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.
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
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 wing
and reputation falls to pieces
he is as constant in his love
as the sun in its journey through the heavens.
-- Senator George Vest, 1870