“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

Image for post
Image for post
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.”

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

Written by

Communications consultant

Sign up for Love Me, Tenderly

By Tenderly

Tenderly's vegan newsletter delivers delicious plants, liberated animals, and the perspectives of vegans all over the world.  Take a look

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.