Steve Woods

A True Friend in Washington

In What Day is it? on September 23, 2009 at 1:45 pm

“The country at large takes a natural interest in the President’s dogs and judges him by the taste and discrimination he shows in his selection…. Any man who does not like dogs or does not want them about does not deserve to be in the White House.”

– AKC Gazette, circa 1924

“If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”

– Harry S. Truman

Past Famous Political Dogs

George Washington imported  foxhounds from England, and received a number of them as a gift from the Marquis de Lafayette of France. His 30 hounds became the predecessors of the modern day American Foxhound.

Ulysses Grant’s son Jesse fawned over his Newfoundland, “Faithful,” which unfortunately passed away. Wishing to protect his son’s emotional state during his Presidency, Grant told obtained another Newfoundland and promptly told his staff that if the dog died, “every employee in the White House will be at once discharged.”

Laddie Boy being shown a portrait of himself

Laddie Boy being shown a portrait of himself

Warren Harding, one day after his inauguration, received an Airedale Terrier named “Laddie Boy.” Harding’s first cabinet meeting was interrupted to deliver the puppy, who went on to own his very own hand-carved chair to relax in during future meetings. Laddie Boy was the first White House dog to receive formal press coverage in the media, sending out invites out to all dogs in houses neighboring the White House to celebrate his birthdays. All comers enjoyed a fine dog biscuit cake. Laddie Boy  was so well-known that his statue has been a fixture at the Smithsonian for some time. Smithsonian curators say of Laddie Boy, “There have been famous dogs since, but never anything like this.”

Lyndon Johnson’s Beagles “Him” and “Her” graced the cover of Life Magazine, and we all know Richard Nixon’s faithful Cocker Spaniel “Checker,s” who of course stayed by his side through thick and thin.  George Bush Sr.’s English Springer Spaniel “Millie” authored a dogobiography “Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush.”.

President Obama, in closely-held secrecy alongside, chose a black and white Portuguese Water Dog, as recompense for his daughters Malia and Sasha putting up with the rigors of campaigning.  Bo, a gift from his dearly departed friend Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who owned several of them, has even graced the White House Blog.  Some have stated concern both with his not having previously owned a dog, and with how long it took for Obama to choose one.  If case you were wondering about the name, Michelle Obama’s father was nicknamed Diddley.

Why the Love Affair with Political Pooches?

Warren Harding previous to his Presidency, while editing The Marion Star newspaper, wrote: “Whether the Creator planned it so, or environment and human companionship have made it so, men may learn richly through the love and fidelity of a brave and devoted dog.”

Why do we care whether or not the leader of the Free World has a dog, and of what breed? Because many of us believe you can judge a man by his companions, and dogs are not excluded from this argument.  Perhaps we fear that a small, scared four-legged animal roaming the halls of Power will be evidence of a leader who consistently barks orders without due consideration to the outcome.

Great Dane or Chihuahua?

Great Dane or Chihuahua?

I for one prefer to see a majestic animal gracing the White House lawn, perhaps a quiet and thoughtful Dane or Doberman, overseeing all operations but restraining himself through proper training and intelligence.  I sincerely prefer this over some little, yappy member of the canine species, peering with fear over the deft, tight grip of our leader as he carries the animal past a shouting press, returning from helicopter jaunts.

Dogs That Have Ran for (and Held) Political Office

Whether as a protest vote or humorous ploy, dogs have indeed made it onto the ballot, and have even held elected office. Perhaps at times the populace has deemed the companion of our leaders more suitable than the men themselves?

In 2008, Molly the Dog, a Daschund from the state of Oklahoma, was named a candidate for the Presidency.  Her official campaign website is still up and running. Rabbit Hash, Kentucky has a mayoral office graced by the presence of a black Labrador named Junior Cochran. The mayoral seat is largely ceremonial in Rabbit Hash.  The Mayor of Sunol, California for a whopping 10 years was a black Labrador-Rotweiller mix named Bosco. It would seem that the majestic, faithful and friendly Labrador has won out in most political elections…

What your Dog Says About You

The President and Bo

The President and Bo

Forbes Magazine ran an interesting article in 2008, decrying the link between certain breeds of dogs and their owners demeanor. According to the American Kennel Club and the ASPCA Beagles (and thusly their owners) are  “inquisitive and willing to learn new things…constantly questioning.”  Cocker Spaniels (and their proud owners) are deemed “family oriented and nurturing…gentle, playful and sweet in demeanor.” Golden Retrievers and their owners are “social butterflies who prefer to be in group settings,” while Poodles and their owners are “detail-oriented and appreciate art and culture.” Hmm, don’t know about that last one, as it would be difficult to ascertain the level of art appreciation of a dog…

How Does this Translate to President Obama?

The AKC considers a Portuguese Water Dog to be “an animal of spirited disposition, self-willed, brave and very resistant to fatigue.”  If the dog one chooses decries much about their own personality, then President Obama, although taking a great deal of time to consider it, may shown us by his choice of Bo that he himself is what this Nation needs in a leader, as we continue to place further demands him to lead us out of emerging problems seemingly cropping up everywhere… Maybe Bo can help him dig us out…

But I still would’ve liked to have seen the image of a majestic Dane, quietly and patiently sauntering up at his own pace, as Air Force 2’s rotor blades chipped down to a slow mutter…

  1. […] Dogs in Politics Day « DÕPÕDÕMÅNÌ – view page – cached “The country at large takes a natural interest in the President’s dogs and judges him by the taste and discrimination he show in his selection…. Any man who does not like dogs and want them about does not deserve to be in the White House.” — From the page […]

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