RADICALIZERS

“Beautiful Joe,” The Dog Who Taught Us Empathy

For generations of my family, the late 19th century novel “Beautiful Joe” has served as a model for morality

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Penn libraries

Our watch phrase is “Be kind” — Joe’s motto. We focused on the core tenets espoused by Joe: beauty, love, goodness, evil. The evil was the hardest.

Brandi was one of them, a sibling with fur, their own Beautiful Joe. They’re tender, these kids, maybe too tender. Despite Beautiful Joe’s place in our life, it’s only this year that my oldest son confessed he couldn’t finish the book. “Too awful,” he said, “too painful.”

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Statue of Beautiful Joe in Meaford, Ontario, Canada. Source: Wikimedia Commons

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Communications consultant

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