Beautiful Joe tells the true story of a dog from Meaford, Ontario that had his ears and tail chopped off by an abusive owner as a puppy, but is rescued by a Meaford family whose lives he later saves. The story is written from the dog's point of view, and is often compared to Black Beauty which was released a few years earlier. When the book was published, it received worldwide attention. It was the first Canadian book to sell over a million copies, and by the end of the 1930s over seven million copies were sold worldwide. About Beautiful Joe, Marshall Saunders commented, "I have had the honour of leading the old Ontario dog around the world on a chain of translations and rejoice in the report that he has become quite a propagandist for humanitarianism".