Jimmy Stewart Recites a Poem About His Dog

Jimmy Stewart was one of Hollywood’s most famous and well-liked actors. He was also a dog lover, and when his “willful but beloved” dog Beau died, he wrote a touching poem about him, which he recited on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” in 1981.

Stewart recalls receiving a phone call from his vet informing him that Beau was terminally ill and requesting permission to euthanize the dog while he was filming a movie. He told the vet that as long as he was alive, he’d be there. “After [Beau] died, there were a lot of nights when I was certain I could feel him get into bed beside me and I would reach out and pat his head,” Stewart recalled later. The feeling was so strong that I wrote a poem about how much it hurt to realize he wouldn’t be there any longer.”

Here’s the poem in its entirety:

He never came to me when I called unless I had a tennis ball or he felt like it, but he rarely came at all.
He never learned to heel, sit, or stay when he was younger; he did things his way.

Discipline was not his strong suit.
But when you were with him, nothing dragged.
He’d dig up a rosebush just to annoy me, and if I grabbed him, he’d bite me.
He bit a lot of people on a daily basis, with the delivery boy being his favorite prey.
The gas man refused to read our meter because he claimed we owned a real man-eater.

He set fire to the house.
However, the story is lengthy.
Suffice it to say, he survived, and so did the house.
He was always the first out the door on Gloria’s evening walks.

Because our bones were sore, the Old One and I brought up the rear.
He’d charge up the street, holding Mom’s hand. What a lovely couple they were!
And if it was still light out and the tourists were out, they caused quite a commotion.

He set fire to the house.
However, the story is lengthy.
Suffice it to say, he survived, and so did the house.
He was always the first out the door on Gloria’s evening walks.

Because our bones were sore, the Old One and I brought up the rear.
He’d charge up the street, holding Mom’s hand. What a lovely couple they were!
And if it was still light out and the tourists were out, they caused quite a commotion.

He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs, and every now and then I’d give him one.
With his nose, he’d push it under the bed, and I’d fish it out with a smile.

And before long, he’d grow tired of the ball and fall asleep in his corner.
In a matter of minutes.

And there were nights when I felt him climb onto our bed and lie between us, and I would pat his head.

And there were nights when I felt like I was being watched.
And then I’d wake up to find him sitting there, and I’d reach out my hand to stroke his hair.
And every now and then, I’d hear him sigh, and I think I know why.

He’d wake up in the middle of the night.
And he’d have this fear of the dark, of life, of many things, and he’d be relieved to have me nearby.

And now he’s gone.
And there are nights when I believe I hear him climb onto our bed and lie between us, and I pat his head.

And there are nights when I believe I am being watched.
And I reach out to stroke his hair, but he isn’t there.

Oh, how I wish that wasn’t the case; I’ll always have a soft spot for a dog named Beau.

Stewart’s sentiments in this poem are likely to be shared by all pet owners! Please spread the word about this iconic star’s tribute to his dog to your family and friends!

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