” Dog Named Beau” By James Stewart, 1989

Gerard Oosterman of “Oosterman Treats” http://oosterman.wordpress.com/ sent this poem in a comment on one of my posts. I remember reading this poem in Google sometime ago. Stewart read the poem on “The Johnny Carson Show” in 1989. It has been written that Carson cried as Stewart read the poem. Most of you probably remember Stewart as a fine actor and if not, you have most likely heard his name. He was a classy gentleman with excellent moral fiber, unlike anything we see in the entertainment business now.

Beau was a Golden Retriever. This poem probably will resonate with two bloggers that I follow. Mary and Tim Livingston have bred, trained and, had more than a few Goldens during their marriage. If you want to see some dog beauties and fantastic art, I encourage you to take a look at Tim’s blog http://theforesterartist.com/ and Mary’s blog at http://thebackdoorartist.com/

A Dog Named Beau by James Stewart (from Jimmy Stewart and His Poems) Crown Publishers, 1989

He never came to me when I would call
Unless I had a tennis ball,
Or he felt like it,
But mostly he didn’t come at all.

When he was young
He never learned to heel
Or sit or stay,
He did things his way.

Discipline was not his bag
But when you were with him things sure didn’t drag.
He’d dig up a rosebush just to spite me,
And when I’d grab him, he’d turn and bite me.

He bit lots of folks from day to day,
The delivery boy was his favorite prey.
The gas man wouldn’t read our meter,
He said we owned a real man-eater.

He set the house on fire
But the story’s long to tell.
Suffice to say that he survived
And the house survived as well.

On the evening walks, and Gloria took him,
He was always first out the door.
The old one and I brought up the rear
Because our bones were sore.

He would charge up the street with Mom hanging on,
What a beautiful pair they were!
And if it was still light and the tourists were out,
They created a bit of a stir.

But every once in a while, he would stop in his tracks
And with a frown on his face look around.
It was just to make sure that the old one was there
And would follow him where he was bound.

We are early-to-bedders at our house–
I guess I’m the first to retire.
And as I’d leave the room he’d look at me
And get up from his place by the fire.

He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs,
And I’d give him one for a while.
He would push it under the bed with his nose
And I’d fish it out with a smile.

And before very long
He’d tire of the ball
And be asleep in his corner
In no time at all.

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 his 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 stoke his hair,
But he’s not there.

Oh, how I wish that wasn’t so,
I’ll always love a dog named Beau.


By James Stewart


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45 thoughts on “” Dog Named Beau” By James Stewart, 1989

  1. Oh Yvonne, thank you for the kind words. What a great poem by a great man. Our first Golden was “Bo.” Over the years, each of our dog developed a slogun. Bo’s was “The Perfect Dog.” He ruined us for all other breeds.

    • You are more than welcome for the mention. You should do a post about all the Goldens that have graced y’alls lives. That would make a very interesting post. I can imagine that you just might compare all the dogs to Bo that have been with you and Mary.

  2. chatou11 says:

    Why oh why shall I cry when I read a poem like this one. It’s just beautiful and so sad. He is the film actor? thank you for sharing Yvonne. Unfortunately we know that our pets will fly over the sky but even we know it, it’s so difficult to accept it!

    • Chantal the poem makes anyone with a soft heart cry. I think that you and I are very much alike in the area of ‘soft hearts.” Stewart was an actor and a very nice man. Unlike anyone that is in the movie industry in this day and age. 🙂

  3. Beau got some character, didn’t he ? He liked his independence and yet needed tenderness too. Loved the poem, so touching and showing the links that grow between our dogs, pets and us. I think I remember James Stewart, an actor, right ? We have this TV channel over here where we can see old movies, often in B&W, a real treat.
    I am happy you shared this poem, Yvonne, thank you and I am glad you are here too.

    • Isa, It is good to to see you are active again in cyberville. Thanks so much for commenting.

      Beau sounds as if he was a wee bit spoiled and lived a very good life.

      Yes, Stewart was an actor and a very nice man. Hollywood did not affect him as it did/does many in the movie industry.

      Bloggers have suggested that I watch one of his movies called “Harvey.” You might want to check that out to see if you can get that one. It is great that you can see old movies. Most of them or so different from anything that is made now.

  4. This is a wonderful poem and just what I would expect from a friend of a Pooka. I second Andrew’s suggestion of seeing “Harvey”. Wonderful film. I just looked on YouTube to see if you could watch it there for free, but the only full version I saw was a TV recreation by Hallmark with Jimmy Stewart but not the original movie.

    I know that feeling expressed at the end about wishing the dog to still be there as do we all. The night after our second beagle Dixie died I lay in bed missing her. Like Murphy, she always slept in bed with me. Upon falling asleep, she came to me in a dream and Jumped on my legs as I stood in dreamland and hugged my leg.

    • Oh my Steve. You really did have one good or one bad dream. Don’t know how to put that exactly. Maybe your dream was comforting and maybe it made you sad. Who knows- maybe her presence was there but not in a physical body. Those beagles are so special and especially the ones that were rescued.

      Someday I’ll get around to watching the Harvey movie. I’d heard years ago that the movie is fantastic. Jimmy Stewart was a fine actor and a very special man. I’m not much of a movie watcher but I really care about seeing the good ones.

      My dogs have always slept on the bed except a year ago I moved to a different bedroom so that I could spend time with my two most favorite cats that I hand rasied. I had to leave out the dogs so that these cats could be with just me. They are sisters and will be 15 years old in May. They get on my chest and stare at me eye ball to eye ball. My heart has been acting up again and I feel they know how distressed I’ve been. Addie is the one that lies across my heart and begins the soothing purr. Nellie sits on my abdomen and stares.

      Animals really are the best. I can’t imagine life without a pet.

  5. Kathy says:

    Lovely nostalgic poem. Reminds me of our dear dogs, long dead now, and the utter sadness we felt at their passing. Then we moved on to cats and grieved each one in his/her turn.

    • Kathy those memories are sometimes painful and I try not to think of my favorite pets that have departed God’s green earth. But for some folks they can think back and laugh about their pets and all the joy. I know that you have said that you and Barry do not want anymore pets and I get that- I really do.

  6. shoreacres says:

    I’ve seen “Harvey” a few times, and it is wonderful. You’ll enjoy it.

    One of the best things about this post for me is the name of the dog – “Beau”. The reason is that I’ve been trying for years – YEARS! I tell you! – to run down a poem that was published in “The New Yorker”, the “Atlantic Monthly” or “The New Republic” sometime between 1970 and 1990 about a fellow who has a dog. The dog’s best friend dies, and the poem is about the fellow trying to figure out how to comfort his dog.

    You would think I could find it with searches, but I haven’t. Now, I remember – the name of the man’s dog in the poem was “Beau”. That’s a terrific clue. I’m going to find some time to go by the library and get one of the reference librarians to help me try to run it down. It’s one of the best poems ever. I cut it out of the magazine, but lost it somewhere along the way. Maybe now I can find it. Thanks!

    • Linda, now that sounds like a challenge that I might undertake as well. If the poem is that good maybe you’ll do a post on it. I would love to add it to the collection of Pet Loss poems even though it concerns a dog that is grieving. I have several poems and posts about pet loss. I even have one that I wrote for my duaghter when her cat Athena died. Of course “I’m not a poet and I know it” but it is simple rhyming and my daughter appreciated it at the time. You see I think that animals have souls too and that their spirit lives on. I know it is crazy thinking but that is most likely my way of dealing with pet loss. Let me know or not if you find the poem. 🙂

      • shoreacres says:

        I will let you know. In fact, the reason I’ve been searching is because I think it deserves a post. It may take some time, but it’s been twenty years or more since I first found it, so I’m not likely to stop now.

  7. Some of that poem so matches “Grumpy Old Man”

    • Aaah, Mike, your handsome Mr Grumpy. What a dog! He looks so sweet. Really. His expression is priceless. I can tell by the way you have written about him in the some of your posts that you adore your dog. He’s taken to the bench for walks where he ingratiates himself with strangers. Now, tell me, is that not a smart dog? And he lies at your feet while you work at the computer. I can’t remember if he is allowed in your lap. 🙂

      Maybe one day you’ll get inspired to write a poem about him while he is still up and going. Maybe not as strong as he once was but still loving life. A one of a kind and once in a lifetime dog.

  8. sybil says:

    I love Jimmy Stewart. Loved his voice. Sort of a drawl. I must have also seen him do this poem on Carson…

    BUT I must say that times have changed… I sorta cringed when I reading about the biting and the dragging … I think we all were a bit negligent about dog behaviour in those days … how did we ever think it was OK for our dog to bite someone ?

    But I sure can relate to that feeling of reaching out to stroke a dog that is no longer there …

    • Sybil, I have not been back, to your blog to see your reply about Sooki. I hope she is feeling much better. I’d not seen porcupine quills up close and personal until seeing your photo. Those are some evil loooking weapons.

      Anyhoo, I believe lots of people loved Jimmy Stewart because he seemed natural, unassuming- a country boy at heart. His voice was unique and I loved hearing him speak. Lots of comedians impersonated him.

      He and his wife probably did not like the dog biting but and just maybe they kept him up when people came around. He might have been a biter before they got a handle on the problem. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt. They both loved the dog immensely and just maybe they did not have the guts to train him. Wonder why they did not hire a dog trainer to help with all the situations? We’ll nver know. Some of the poem could have also been “stretched a tad” to make it all rhyme, etc and to give it a bit of flare. Just about all writers do that to some extent. Not everything is exactly as they write it. I’ve done that myself since it is nearly impossible to write everthing just the way events happened.

  9. Jimmy Stewart was a class act, not just for this wonderful poem. I loved him, his movies, how he carried himself in life. The Forest Artist’s site is also a wonderful site. Thank you, Yvonne. Hope you have a good weekend. Paulette

    • Yes indeed, Paulette. I’ve seen your comments on Tim’s blog. I have the feeling that he and Mary are some of the nicest people that one would find anywhere in the word. They both seem so real and with no pretense. Maybe the dogs lend a hand in their personna but I think they are marvelous individuals with so much talent.

      Many, many people will agree with each of us that, as you mention, he was one of a kind in Hollywood who lived up to a high moral standard. Very unusual for a world that is so far removed from the average person.

  10. Just Rod says:

    Thanks for sharing the poem Yvonne. Jimmy Stewart is a favourite of ours, and was one of my mum’s too.

    Dog’s find such a deep place in our lives. We never forget them.

    These days we have to get our dog ‘fix’ when we visit our daughter and grand children. The dogs demand our attention before we are allowed to greet anyone else.

    The small dog Twiggy has a very deep bark and goes a little crazy when we arrive. The big dog Tank, an English Mastiff, is satisfied by just pushing everyone else out of the way and pinning us against the wall!

    • Rod, at least you have “grandogs. I can only imagine how happy those two dogs are when you and Susan visit. I remember in a comment to me before Christmas that you two had agreed to dog sit for Christmas eve I think it was?

      Twiggy and Tank. The names sound fitting. Held hostage against the wall till Tanks gets his fill of petting. I’d bet that all of the wagging of his tail and Tank’s affectionate greeting would make a funny video for You Tube.

      I had not realized until this post that Jimmy Stewart was so well known and beloved in England, Canada, and I suppose, in lots of other places too.

      I’m Grandma to my two kiddos pets. It sort of gets funny after awhile but I love my kids pets almost as much as I do my own.

      • Vicky says:

        Grandogs 🙂 what a fabulous word.
        Oh Yvonne, I think you’ll find James Stewart was one of Britains favourite actors of his era. I know my parents loved him, which is probably why I do too.

        • Oh you like Grandogs. 🙂 It just seems a natural fit.

          I am still in awe of how many people loved Jimmy Stewart especially overseas. I just have always figured that each country has their own actors for movies. I’m only familiar with British actors that appear in American movies.

  11. I remember him reading this on the Tonight Show…what a great poem!

  12. penpusherpen says:

    Aww Yvonne, I’ve tears in my eyes, and laughter in my heart. I read through twice. Some dogs just make you feel so much. My Bess was such a one, plastic balls were her thing, we had dozens, we’d throw them over our arch and she catch every one. When she was a youngster she’d chase the balls thrown like the wind itself. Border Collie like, she made it her quest. Thank you for this blog, a perfect poem from a perfect gentleman. xPenx

    • Aah Penny. Your dog Bess sounds like she was a real sweetheart. I’ve always been sort of partial to dogs that are Border Collies or a BC mix. So smart and just wanting to play or have a job to do.

      I have to agree that if you’ve ever truely loved a dog then this poem will cause some tears to fall. Just can’t be helped.

  13. Vicky says:

    I remember James Stewart well, mostly from the cowboy films of my childhood.

    I never knew he wrote poetry too though.

    There is true feeling in that poem and something that most of us who have loved and lost a beloved pet can relate to.

    • Hi Vicky.I agree that he wrote the poem with lots of heartfelt love for his dog Beau. There is actually a book of poems published by Crown Publishers of his poems. It can be ordered special by finding it on Google. It is about $12 US dollars. You know I never saw any of his western films. I need to remedy that somehow. I think he did a total of 5 westerns. He won an Acedemy award for “The Philadelphis Story.” I think, that is the one.

      Thanks so much for your visit and for commenting.

      • Vicky says:

        I’ve just searched YouTube and found James Stewart reading the poem on the Johnny Carson Show you mentioned above.
        Phew, it’s even more poignant seeing him read it 😦

  14. Lottie Nevin says:

    Now that’s what I call a real ‘dog’ poem, written by someone who really knows and loves their dogs; I’ve not seen it before so thanks Yvonne and Gerard for sharing it. I had a peek at Mary and Tim’s blogs and love what they both do so before I knew it, I had pressed the Follow button on both of them. I’ve been looking for new blogs to follow for a while so great to get a double-whammy on here through your recommendation, Yvonne. Mr Colin Snout is asking me for his breakfast so I must go, any moment now he is going to leap onto our bed and all hell will break loose as it’s impossible to type with him around – his paws are all over the laptop and he tries to wash my face Ewwwww! Speak soon! xxxxx

    • Dear Lottie.I am happy to pass on great bloggers and you’ll learn a alot about the Livingston’s dogs. All the dogs are so beautiful and smart. I think that you will enjoy art from both Tim and Mary. Tim photographs and paints the dogs and other scenes. I really enjoy his art.

      I can understand Colin S’s eagerness in the morning for his breakfast. He’s such a cute dog. I know that by now he is firmly entrenched into your heart. Funny how dogs have a way of doing that.

      I’ll look forward to hearing from you soon but please don’t neglect your writing. It is going so well and only gets better. I accidentluy deleted your last post. I’ll get around to it soon. I’m wearing a heart monitor for 48 hours so that has set me back a notch or two. I decided to write about it rather than cry. I had been asleep but then woke up after two hours and could not go back to sleep. Worry has a way of making one an isomniac. 🙂

      ~yvonne xxxx

  15. Andrew says:

    Oh I remember Jimmy Stewart well. My parents held him in the highest regard. I loved his voice and one of my all time favourite films is Harvey. The best line of all is: “Well, I’ve wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I’m happy to state I finally won out over it.” I feel like that sometimes. I didn’t know the poem but I’m glad I do now.

    • Andrew, I never saw the film Harvey and supposedly it was one of his best. Now you have my interest piqued so I’ll have to set about trying to find it on DVD. Just maybe there is a copy of it being sold. I quite like the line of “wrestling with reality doctor and happy to state that I finally won out over it.” That’s one quote I want to remmber and use sometimes. I think it is appros in some situations. So then we both learned something pertaining to Jimmy Stewart.

      Thank you for adding so much interest to this post.

      Johnnhy Carson cried after Stewart read the poem.You can view it on You Tube. Ive not watched it so I have no idea of the video’s quality.

      By the way, your parents excercised good taste in movie actors. You as well as many people loved the man’s voice. His voice was unique and one of a kind that was so special.

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