Man(kind)'s Best Friend


Hand-Carved and Hand-Painted Alabaster "Loyal Companion" Dog Bookends (LEO Design)


Leonidas Hornsby had had enough!  Something had killed a few of the sheep on his Missouri farm and Hornsby vowed to kill the next dog or wolf who strayed onto his property.  Sadly, on 18 October 1869, Old Drum wandered onto Hornsby's land.  Hornby ordered Old Drum shot.  The dog belonged to his neighbor (and brother-in-law) Charles Burden.  Burden really loved Old Drum!  And he vowed that Hornsby would pay!

Burden sued Hornsby for $100—what he believed was just compensation for the financial value of the dog plus the emotional loss incurred.  Burden argued that Old Drum was much more than a working asset or possession.  Indeed, Old Drum was a companion and valued family member.  The case was almost thrown-out because the initial court was not allowed to consider cases of such high value; Burden lowered his lawsuit amount to $50 and the case proceeded. After a number of trials and appeals, the case made it to the Missouri Supreme Court where Burden won.  Justice for Old Drum!

During his arguments before the Missouri Supreme Court in 1870, Burden's attorney, George Vest, read his "Eulogy of the Dog"—in which he coined the term "Man's Best Friend."  Since then, no one has ever litigated a successful counter-argument, thus, the maxim is still observed today.

These bookends, hand-colored of alabaster and then hand-painted, depict a sweet dog (dogs?) loyally watching the master.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about them.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248