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Celebrating the Animal  Human Bond

Beautiful Joe Heritage Society


I Remember Beautiful Joe - Pet Stories & Photos

The Society continues to receive emails from people who have read my story and want to share their memories of me with everyone. If you have a story you would like us to put on our website of how the story has influenced you, or perhaps changed the way you think of animals in general...I would love to hear from you.
Please contact the Society by email at or on Facebook and share your experiences. Who knows? Perhaps your story will influence someone else. Here are just a few of those stories. Many thanks and happy reading.

Hello, I'm so amazed that this story has such a following and organization. I first read the story in the early 1960's at 11 years old. That book was a reprint in the popular size of the day but has been lost in several moves that were made. As a young adult browsing a second hand store, I found an older edition of it (60 to 70 years old, small hardback).
Recently searching the web I discovered a movie was made of "Beautiful Joe". I drive a truck cross country with "Jake-Brake Jaci Mac Doodle Poodle" (4 year old Toy Poodle). Beautiful Joe remains today my favorite story as with Lad of Sunnybrook Farm.
God Bless, Nancy McFadden Fair winds and following seas.

I read the story of Beautiful Joe as a young child. It made a large impact on my life and way of thinking. It touched me deeply. I read the book to my daughters. For some reason, this story was a turning point in my life. I am happy and proud to be a part of the Beautiful Joe Heritage Society.
Beautiful Joe Heritage Society Member Sandra Frick Montana, USA

I just discovered your website and was so happy that such a wonderful book has blossomed into such a unique learning experience. I have always loved animals, and received a copy of Beautiful Joe as a child, as my parents knew I loved to read and I loved animals so they knew this gift was one I would enjoy, but now at age 52, I can honestly say, that this book fired in me a lifelong desire to help suffering animals and to eliminate cruelty in all its forms.
As a child this book touched me in such a profound way that it has never left me. It is one of my cherished possessions and I feel it should be required reading for every school child. I just wanted to thank all those involved for helping to perpetuate such a wonderful cause of eliminating suffering and promoting caring for all Gods’ creatures. My 17 year old daughter Katie has also read and enjoyed the book herself many times, so I am proud to have raised a compassionate daughter who may herself one day further the cause of animal welfare as I have tried to do.
Sincerely yours, (Mrs) Michal Coker Fairfield, Alabama USA

Driving into Meaford we are welcomed by a sign that announced that "Beautiful Joe" hailed from here. After joking with Joe that they knew he was coming, we both wondered who "Beautiful Joe" had been. We saw the sign indicating where to turn to visit the "Beautiful Joe" memorial Park but ignored it and continued on our journey to Wiarton where I was to present for a couple days last week, a couple days this.

Once into the hotel room, I hooked up the computer and looked up "Beautiful Joe" and discovered that Joe had been a dog that lived in Meaford in the late 1800's. He had belonged to a deranged and abusive man who over time had mutilated and disfigured the dog. Hacking off ears and tail, treating the dog as property to be abused at will, Joe barely survived. He was rescued by a caring family and once brought back to health he brought love in abundance to his new caretakers.

Beautiful Joe's story was discovered by a relative visiting the family in Meaford and then written into book form, the story was relocated to an American location in order to compete in a Humane Society competition and thereby win publication. The book, won, was published and has sold millions and millions of copies. It is still in print over a century later.

I had never heard of the story but I immediately was moved. Eric, our little dog, was an abused dog who rescued us. I choked with emotion at Joe's rescue and foamed in anger at his past abuse. On our way back this week we went to the memorial Park and found a statue there in Beautiful Joe's honour. The artist captured Joe lying down with his head raised looking into the distance. His ears, mutilated, his spirit unwounded.

I didn't expect to be so moved. But then I remembered only weeks ago doing a consultation with a woman with a disability who had lived a life of rape and violence. I remembered a young boy with intellectual disability, eyes burned out with cigarettes. I remembered measuring a bruise and documenting it onto a report.
Joe, like all these, was given to care to others.
Joe, like all these, was vulnerable to the temper of another.
Joe, like all these, felt all that was done.

We, who are in the position of care providing are given such an incredible trust. Lives are placed in our hands. Skin that can be cut. Bones that can be broken. Souls that can be destroyed. It seems sometimes that we become casual with that trust. It's all too easy to forget the strength of our grip, the tone of our voice, the harshness of our demands.
I got out of my wheelchair to make my way, with assistance, to the statue. I ran my hand gently over that dogs head. I touched at his ears. Felt the jagged remains and was reminded, again, of my responsibility. Reminded again of the depth of human depravity. Of the creativity of cruelty. I prayed that Joe had forgiven us, we humans, for what we had done to him. I prayed that we humans would find in Joe a reminder of what it means to survive.
Posted by Dave Hingsburger on his blog
What beautiful and thought provoking expressions Dave – the Society thanks you for them.

I had read both "Beautiful Joe" and "Beautiful Joe's Paradise" over 50 years ago, and loved both books. I have just bought the 2 books again; after a local bookstore tracked down a copy of "Beautiful Joe's Paradise" (I already had found the first book, "Beautiful Joe"). I sat down this week and read them both again with fond memories and with a few tears.
I wish these books were more readily available for libraries or in book stores. They should be required reading for children at the high school (or earlier) level. In fact, I was thinking that with so many cases one reads of in the papers of animal abuse, the perpetrators of these terrible acts ought to be required by the judicial system to read both books and made to write a report on them. Maybe that would turn a few hearts to be more compassionate.
Regards, Ann Salsman Halifax, Nova Scotia

I was just watching Animal Cops/Philadelphia on Animal Planet TV. I watch this and other shows like it to see the work of unselfish Humane Assoc. workers around this country. On this particular episode, the humane officers had assisted in a rescue of literally hundreds of dogs and fowl used for fighting. It was a very cold night and the workers collected animals from filthy, inhumane conditions all night. Most of the animals had battle scars and signs of past mutilations. There were dogs of all ages, shivering in the cold. One was a very pregnant female, wanting only to be given warmth and a good meal. One officer came out with his hands full of newborn puppies, their eyes not even open yet. The one that really got to me was a puppy about 6-8 wks old, with big sad eyes, shivering and looking very pitiful. His ears had been savagely chopped off, probably with a tin snips or maybe an ax or knife. The wounds were obviously infected. All he wanted was warmth and safety. Lucky for him, he found that in the coat of one of the humane officers. The show went on to show that this pup was one of the lucky ones. He was young enough and healthy enough to survive his wounds and go to a loving adoptive home and hopefully a happy life.
That puppy's sad face sent me back more than half a century to a book I had read as a child, Beautiful Joe. I was not an avid reader as a child, so the books that I did read made a deep impression on me. Beautiful Joe was one of those timeless tales that touch the heart and bring out the best in people while showing just how cruel some members of the human race can be. I would love to see this book in EVERY school library in this the world, for that matter.
This is truly a story for our times.
Sincerely, Sally Dodge Birmingham, AL

I opened my copy of Side Roads of Simcoe County and was so pleased to see Beautiful Joe! I read the novel as a child and I have in my possession an original copy that was owned by my Grandpa Schilling...I am very fortunate to have the book and is very dear to my heart.
Deborah Rivers, Alliston, Ontario


Enjoy reading and participating in my website and if you would like to tell us your animal companion story or volunteer for our Society we’d love to hear from you (you should see my tail wagging just thinking about it), please send us an email or friend us on Facebook,
or if you’re old fashioned like Margaret Marshall Saunders, you can write to us at:
Beautiful Joe Heritage Society
PO Box 3304, Meaford, Ontario, Canada N4L 1A5
Tel: (519) 538-5895 Email:

Beautiful Joe Heritage Society preserves and promotes the historical legacies of both 'Beautiful Joe' and
Margaret Marshall Saunders and celebrates the natural bond between animals and humans.