The Dog Poem that Made Johnny Carson Cry

Jimmy Stewart is one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars of all time. He was also a loving dog owner.


Watch as actor Jimmy Stewart shares a poem about his beloved dog:

Here is the poem:
For Beau: ‘I’ll always love a dog named Beau’, by Jimmy Stewart – 1981

He never came to me when I would call

Unless I had a tennis ball,

Or he felt like it,

But mostly he didn’t come at all.

When he was young

He never learned to heel

Or sit or stay,

He did things his way.

Discipline was not his bag

But when you were with him things sure didn’t drag.

He’d dig up a rosebush just to spite me,

And when I’d grab him, he’d turn and bite me.

He bit lots of folks from day to day,

The delivery boy was his favorite prey.

The gas man wouldn’t read our meter,

He said we owned a real man-eater.

He set the house on fire

But the story’s long to tell.

Suffice it to say that he survived

And the house survived as well.

On the evening walks, and Gloria took him,

He was always first out the door.

The Old One and I brought up the rear

Because our bones were sore.

He would charge up the street with Mom hanging on,

What a beautiful pair they were!

And if it was still light and the tourists were out,

They created a bit of a stir.

But every once in a while, he would stop in his tracks

And with a frown on his face look around.

It was just to make sure that the Old One was there

And would follow him where he was bound.

We are early-to-bedders at our house — I guess I’m the first to retire.

And as I’d leave the room he’d look at me

And get up from his place by the fire.

He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs,

And I’d give him one for a while.

He would push it under the bed with his nose

And I’d fish it out with a smile.

And before very long He’d tire of the ball

And be asleep in his corner In no time at all.

And there were nights when I’d feel him Climb upon our bed

And lie between us,

And I’d pat his head.

And there were nights when I’d feel this stare

And I’d wake up and he’d be sitting there

And I reach out my hand and stroke his hair.

And sometimes I’d feel him sigh and I think I know the reason why.

He would wake up at night

And he would have this fear

Of the dark, of life, of lots of things,

And he’d be glad to have me near.

And now he’s dead.

And there are nights when I think I feel him

Climb upon our bed and lie between us,

And I pat his head.

And there are nights when I think I feel that stare

And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair,

But he’s not there.

Oh, how I wish that wasn’t so,

I’ll always love a dog named Beau.


A book titled “Why We Love the Dogs We Do: How to Find the Dog That Matches Your Personality” published in 2000 contains some information on what happened to Beau, Stewart’s beloved dog.

“While shooting a movie in Arizona, Stewart received a phone call from Dr. Keagy, his veterinarian, who informed him that Beau was terminally ill, and that [Stewart’s wife] Gloria sought his permission to perform euthanasia. Stewart declined to give a reply over the phone, and told Keagy to ‘keep him alive and I’ll be there.’ Stewart requested several days’ leave, which allowed him to spend some time with Beau before granting the doctor permission to euthanize the sick dog. Following the procedure, Stewart sat in his car for 10 minutes to clear his eyes of tears. Stewart later remembered: ‘After [Beau] died there were a lot of nights when I was certain that I could feel him get into bed beside me and I would reach out and pat his head. The feeling was so real that I wrote a poem about it and how much it hurt to realize that he wasn’t going to be there any more.'” [Wikipedia]

Lord Byron’s ‘Epitaph to a Dog” also comes to mind.

Near this Spot

are deposited the Remains of one

who possessed Beauty without Vanity,

Strength without Insolence,

Courage without Ferocity,

and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

..

This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery

if inscribed over human Ashes,

is but a just tribute to the Memory of

Boatswain, a Dog

who was born in Newfoundland May 1803

and died at Newstead Nov. 18th, 1808

,,

When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,

Unknown to Glory, but upheld by Birth,

The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,

And storied urns record who rests below.

When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,

Not what he was, but what he should have been.

But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,

The first to welcome, foremost to defend,

Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,

Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,

Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,

Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth –

While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,

And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

..

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,

Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power –

Who knows thee well, must quit thee with disgust,

Degraded mass of animated dust!

Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,

Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!

By nature vile, ennobled but by name,

Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.

Ye, who behold perchance this simple urn,

Pass on – it honours none you wish to mourn.

To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;

I never knew but one — and here he lies.