Beautiful Joe, the Autobiography of a Dog ... a true story


July 6, 2014


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In 1894, Margaret Marshall Saunders, wrote the moving and true story of Beautiful Joe, a dog whose mistreatment at the hands of a cruel owner would eventually result in what is today ... the Humane Society.

Born in Nova Scotia, Saunders traveled to Meaford, Ontario, where she met Beautiful Joe, the mongrel that her brother's family had rescued and adopted.  She was so touched by his story, that she wrote the book ... Beautiful Joe, a Dog's Autobiography, and entered it in a contest where it won first prize and went on to become Canada's first book to sell one million copies.

By 1934, Beautiful Joe, a Dog's Autobiography, had sold seven million copies in 14 languages and, today, Linda Thorn of Wiarton, Ontario has revived Beautiful Joe's story in rhyme.

Author Linda Thorn

The little book, illustrated by Lin Soulier of Lion's Head, ON and with cover designed by Kelsey Carrier of Oxenden, ON, is a renewal of Beautiful Joe's story.

The original story, as penned by Saunders, has become a symbol for the humane treatment of animals.  Saunders herself was recognized nationally in Britain and France for her advocacy in that humane treatment.

Thorn's compassion for animals lead her to become a Board member of the Beautiful Joe Heritage Society in Meaford.

The Society was formed  "... to preserve, honour, and showcase the life of their local canine hero Beautiful Joe. The Society promotes the literary and humane achievements of Margaret Marshall Saunders (1861-1947) who is the author of the story, and who was able to give a voice to Beautiful Joe." www.beautifuljoe.org

Beautiful Joe Park in Meaford is an eight-acre heritage site that not only promotes the ethical values of humane treatment but is also the burial site of Beautiful Joe.  It has also become a place where pet owners can place a plaque or tree in memory of their companions.

Today, the park is also home to many monuments dedicated to police dogs, service dogs and search & resuce dogs.  In 2002, the Society unveiled tow gigantic plinths in memory of the two World Trade Centre towers.  One is dedicated to all canine 911 Search & Rescue dogs and the other to K-9 Sirius, the yellow Labrador that died in the September 11, 2001 tragedy.  An iron cross made from a Ground Zero girder, was presented by the New York/New Jersey Port Authority Police in the commemoration ceremony and can now be seen on one of the columns.

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The Society is also fundraising for the Beautiful Joe Leash Free Park that allows pets the freedom to roam and play with others in the spirit of the book.

Eventually, the Society hopes to establish the Beautiful Joe Museum to celebrate Beautiful Joe and the life of Margaret Marshall Saunders and her lifelong passion for the humane treatment of animals.

For more information or to aquire a copy of Linda Thorn's revival of Beautiful Joe in rhyme, go to info@BeautifulJoePoemBook.com OR Amazon Kindle e-books.

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