Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney and current president, Barrack Obama are both under attack by the dog-loving community for their pasts with dogs. Romney has been under attack for the now-infamous Seamus incident and Obama has recently come under fire for his admission that he’d eaten dog meat as a child growing up in Indonesia. But, attacks on presidents’ and candidates’ four-legged pasts are nothing new.
Even as far back as WWII, presidential dogs were making headlines at election time. In the video below, Franklin Roosevelt speaks candidly about his Scottish Terrier, Fala, and the controversy surrounding rumors that he sent a naval destroyer to pick up the stranded dog from the Aleutian Islands.
Fala, the short name for Murray the Outlaw of Falahill, was reportedly left behind by FDR during a presidential visit to the islands. Speculators claimed that Roosevelt sent a naval destroyer ship back to the island at the expense of tax payers to retrieve the stranded pooch.
Roosevelt said to reporters about the rumors, “Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family don’t resent attacks — but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I’d left him behind on an Aleutian island and had sent a destroyer back to find him — at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or 20 million dollars — his Scotch soul was furious. (laughter) He has not been the same dog since. (laughter) I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself — such as that old, worm-eaten chestnut that I have represented myself as indispensable. But I think I have a right to resent, to object, to libelous statements about my dog!”
FDR and Fala were clearly best buddies, as seen in the video above and as claimed by FDR’s wife, Eleanor. In her autobiography, Eleanor Roosevelt tells of Fala’s inability to accept his master’s death, saying, “It was Fala, my husband’s little dog, who never really readjusted. Once, in 1945, when General Eisenhower came to lay a wreath on Franklin’s grave, the gates of the regular driveway were opened and his automobile approached the house accompanied by the wailing of the sirens of a police escort. When Fala heard the sirens, his legs straightened out, his ears pricked up and I knew that he expected to see his master coming down the drive as he had come so many times…. Fala accepted me after my husband’s death, but I was just someone to put up with until the master should return.”