Thursday, September 10, 2015
No Ordinary Dog
I recently read No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin. The Pulitzer prize winning book tells the story of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt during World War II. The Roosevelt presidency is fascinating. He and Eleanor's partnership equally so. But of course, one of my favorite small pieces in the book dealt with Roosevelt's Scottish Terrier, Fala.
Fala came to Roosevelt as a gift from his cousin and it wasn't long before the little dog and the president were inseparable. Fala got a bone every day and Roosevelt often hand fed him. During the dark days of war, I imagine Fala's antics came as a welcome distraction in the president's life.
Fala got to hang out with other important people, too. There are photographs of him with Winston Churchill, the president of Mexico, and yes, even Ed Sullivan. Roosevelt once used Fala in a clever speech to poke fun at stories circulating about the costs of Fala traveling with the president. The speech effectively endeared him to the people and put his political opponents straight in the dog house.
After President Roosevelt passed away, Fala never seemed quite the same. Eleanor told a poignant story about Eisenhower coming to visit. Fala heard the sirens from the police escort accompanying the president. His ears perked up and he raced to meet the motorcade. Eleanor is certain Fala thought his master was returning home at last.
Fala's story is so entwined with the president's he was even memorialized with his master.
Fala died 7 years after Roosevelt at the ripe age of 12. He is buried next to the president and first lady at Hyde Park. For other charming photographs of Fala and FDR, click here.
Loyalty and utter devotion. Whether president, prince, or pauper, who can deny the connection between people and dogs?
"You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog."
~Harry S. Truman