Found this on one of the other dog sites and thought that I would share it.
"Mans Best Friend"
The Phrase "Man's Best Friend" originated in a court of law. Back in October 28, 1869, A man's dog (named "Ol' Drum", was shot to death by a neighbor. Animals had no rights back in those days, but the man wanted justice and so he hired 3 lawyers to sue the man who shot his dog. One of these lawyers, named George Graham Vest, is given credit for originally coining the phrase "Man's Best Friend" during his final summation to the jury. By the time he was finished with his speech, the jury only took 2 minutes to reach a verdict. The jury awarded the victim $50 (a very large amount of money back then). The jury also wanted the man to be sent to prison, but there were no laws governing this type of incident back then so the judge was not able to honor the jury's request for prison time. This is a record of the final summation given by the lawyer...
Gentlemen of the Jury The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son and daughter that he had reared with loving care may become ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him when he may need it most. Man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees and do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our head. The only absolutely unselfish friend a man may have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and poverty, in health and sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, when the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he can be near his master's side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of a pauper as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert... he remains. When riches take wings and reputations fall to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens. If fortune drives the master forth an outcast into the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies, and when the last scene of all comes, and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his grave side will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws and his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.