FALA

Smith Journal - - Opinion -

Forty-two of the 43 U.S. pres­i­dents owned pets – though only Franklin D. Roo­sevelt’s Scot­tish ter­rier Fala has his own me­mo­rial, which sits at the feet of FDR’s statue in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. The two were in­sep­a­ra­ble in real life, when Fala would crash press con­fer­ences and ac­com­pany the pres­i­dent on over­seas trips. He was even given his own code name – In­former – by the Se­cret Ser­vice. While most of the news about Fala was pos­i­tive, there were some rum­blings about his po­si­tion in the White House. In 1944, a ru­mour cir­cu­lated that the pres­i­dent had in­ad­ver­tently left Fala in the Aleu­tian Is­lands, and had sent a Navy de­stroyer back to pick him up at tax­pay­ers’ ex­pense. Ab­so­lutely false, FDR said dur­ing a cam­paign speech. “He has not been the same dog since the at­tack],” FDR de­cried. “I am ac­cus­tomed to hear­ing ma­li­cious false­hoods about my­self, but I think I have a right to ob­ject to li­bel­lous state­ments about my dog.” The pub­lic clearly agreed, and re-elected Roo­sevelt to his fourth term. Shortly af­ter, FDR suf­fered a heart at­tack and died. Fala trav­elled by train to at­tend his fu­neral.

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