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Jimmy Stewart's heartbreaking poem is the best 'dog is for life' reminder you'll ever see

If you can get through this without shedding a tear … you’re probably a cat person.
Dec 19th 2015, 8:30 AM 25,259 35

s2 Source: It's a Wonderful Life

JAMES STEWART HAS long been synonymous with Christmas: chances are you’ll catch at least a few minutes of his best-known film ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ at some stage over the next few weeks – either online, on DVD, or (the proper way) gathered around the TV with family members, devouring ham sandwiches and attempting to hold back those salty, salty tears.

The run-up to the festive period is also, typically, a time when the country’s animal charities and groups issue their annual reminder - that a dog is for life, not just for Christmas.

Think before buying

It may seem, to most of us, more than a little astounding that some parents still see nothing wrong with buying a puppy for their offspring around Christmastime – only to realise, just a few days later, that their family is ill-equipped to deal with the responsibilities of keeping a pet. Dogs Trust, for instance, received 51 calls from members of the public requesting to surrender their dog or puppy in the first few weeks of January 2014.

Bearing all of the above in mind, we challenge you to get through this famous vintage clip of Jimmy Stewart reading a poem about his dog on Terry Wogan’s chat-show in the late 1980s without shedding a tear or two.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the studio – or, we’re guessing, among viewers – by the time the star was finished eulogising ‘Beau’ (Wogan aside… the stone-hearted swine).

jim1 Source: BBC/Wogan

You can read the full poem here, and the final few stanzas are published below – but you really need to watch the man himself read the lines to get the full effect… 

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.

Source: jeffcher10/YouTube

“Jimmy Stewart’s touching tribute to his companion dog Beau brought a tear to my eye and yet warmth to my heart,” John Carmody of animal rights group ARAN told us.

“His tribute is a heartwarming and yet sorrowful reminisce that shows what groups like ARAN have been saying about dogs for years; that they very much have intricate and individual personalities.

Animal advocacy groups like ARAN have spent years trying to help people to join the dots that whilst animals may look different, they have virtually the same emotions, feelings and temperament as us humans at the very best of times. We think Jimmy sums up the long held belief that ‘a dog truly is for life, and not just for Christmas’.

shutterstock_137913404 Source: Shutterstock/Mary Rice

Meanwhile, the ISPCA has recommended people wait until after the festivities before buying a new pet.

“Taking on a pet is a long-term commitment that can affect your life for the next 15 years so it is important to ensure you have adequate time and financial resources to care for your pet responsibly,” the ISPCA’s Andrew Kelly said.

The charity added:

If you really want to get a new pet and it is a well thought out decision …. we recommend that you wait until after the festivities and visit your local rescue centre for advice or the ISPCA, where expert staff will ensure that you and your new pet are a suitable match.

Read: Can you help? This cat was shot with a pellet gun and is up for adoption

Read: This fox was spotted trapped and scared in a Dublin 8 basement this morning 


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Daragh Brophy


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