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In 1892, in the town of Meaford, Ontario, Margaret Marshall Saunders was introduced to Beautiful Joe -a mongrel dog that had been cruelly mutilated by its owner. The author was inspired to write this true story to emphasize the plight of domestic animals everywhere. Upon publication, Beautiful Joe quickly became a Canadian classic, enchanting readers of all ages. Although Margaret Saunders relocated Beautiful Joe to a fictional town in Maine, readers know the story is actually based in Meaford, where a park and monument have been dedicated to the dog's memory.