The New Yorker Noticed
New Yorker senior editor Amy Davidson’s March 8, 2012, blog post “Close Read: What Presidents Talk About When They Talk About Dogs” mentions this very Tumblr. (We’re flattered!) The peg is a New York Times column about Mitt Romney’s decision to put his dog Seamus on top of his family’s station wagon for a 12-hour ride in 1983. Davidson also recounts Richard Nixon’s famous “Checkers speech” and LBJ’s habit of lifting his beagles up by their ears.
But, naturally, Davidson’s recounting of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous “Fala Speech” is what perked up our ears.
Roosevelt’s speech on Fala had been Nixon’s inspiration, and was, in fact, genuinely inspiring. Fala was a Scottish Terrier. He went everywhere with F.D.R.—inspected troops, played with Churchill. (There is a Fala Tumblr with that and much more.) A story appeared saying that he had been left behind in the Aleutian Islands by mistake, and a destroyer had been sent to pick him up; whether he was strapped to the top of said destroyer is not clear. Roosevelt’s response was inimitable.
One learns a couple of things. Roosevelt was charming, his comedic timing was perfect, and he could be unrelenting, even merciless, with both. He spoke about how it all seemed to Fala; he could speak that way about anyone, from any perspective. In this case, he said of Fala, “his Scotch soul was furious”:
Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family don’t resent attacks—but Fala does resent them.
Read more at The New Yorker