Friday, April 20, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Romney's Dog Problem

From the Houston Chronicle
As the Republican primary race continues, the talk about Governor Mitt Romney's experience with dogs continues to make news. This was especially true in the past few days as the folks at Dogs Against Romney protested the Westminster Dog Show in New York city.

All of talk about Romney's dislike and mistreatment of dogs stems from a 2007 Boston Globe article in which Romney detailed the events of the family's 1983 vacation. The Romney family dog, Seamus, was loaded in his carrier and strapped to the top of the family's station wagon for the trip from Boston to Ontario.

Historically, pets have played a very important role in the lives of many presidents and lawmakers.

  • FDR's dog Fala helped him win re-election
  • President Ford would often signal his dog Liberty to break up a 
  • President George Bush's dog Millie and her puppies entertained many of the White House's visiting guests 
  • President Clinton's dog Buddy kept him company in the dog house during the Lewinsky scandal
  • President George W. Bush's dogs Barney and Miss Beazley  hosted annual video tours of the White House's Christmas decorations. 
While the Romney family vacation was almost 30 years ago, he hasn't done much to dissolve the story. A recent meeting with President George and Mrs. Bush in Houston showed Romney's awkwardness around dogs.

There are more than 78 million dog owners in the United States and not being dog-friendly could sway some voters in what many consider what could a very close election. The Romney campaign should consider doing something to help the candidate's image and awkwardness around animals. Defeating an incumbent president with a dog could be a very tough challenge.  

More on Romney's latest press:
  1. Huffington Post on Dogs Against Romney Protest
  2. Saturday Night Live on Romney Primary Open 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bark for Barack

The folks at Organizing for America have come up with a way to reach the large group of pet-loving voters and over the weekend the Pet Lovers for Obama Facebook page was launched.

Obama for American Bark for Barack car magnet
This isn't the first time presidential hopefuls have used their pets to aid their campaigns, but it is the first in recent history.

President FDR included Fala a re-election speech after being falsely accused of using taxpayer dollars the dog's travel expenses. The speech later became known as the Fala Speech.

“These Republican leaders have not been content with the attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog. Fala. Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family doesn’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 had left him behind on the Aleutian Islands and sent a destroyer back to find him—at a cost to taxpayers of 2 or 3, or 20 million dollars—his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since.” (watch the speech here)

It will be interesting to see how the campaign uses modern technology and the social networks to pet owners in this election year. The campaign is currently selling car magnets prominently featuring Bo and the slogan Bark for Barack. The Obama for America campaign store also sells a number of campaign items for pets, including Cats for Obama collars.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pets with Newt?

From Pets with Newt
As many of my friends will tell you and you may have concluded from this blog, I'm a big proponent of lawmakers and their pets.

One of the current (because he may not be in the race much longer) GOP presidential candidates, Newt Gingrich recently launched the site Pets with Newt. While the site may have been created with the best of intentions in a effort to engage many animal-loving voters, it leaves one wondering, why doesn't Newt have a pet? Take a look around the site and let me know what you think, but there's a lot to be desired from this site.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pets in the News--December 23, 2011

There have been a lot of pets in the news lately. Here's a round up.

US Weekly: Prince William and Kate Middleton getting a puppy for Christmas

ABCNews: Gingrich to Campaign with Pets and Music

USAToday: President Obama, dog Bo go Christmas shopping

The White House Christmas decorations include Bo. Here's a look at the making of some of the decorations from

Friday, December 2, 2011

Puppies help alleviate stress

From the Washington Post.
A recent article in the Washington Post noted how several universities are bringing in puppies during finals to help students alleviate stress.

A law student from George Mason noted the benefits,

“Especially this time of the year, law school seems to ruin your life,” said Allison Tisdale, 24, a third-year from Texas who didn’t go home for Thanksgiving because she had to study. Holding a squirming puppy, she said, “you get to be human again.”

Research continue to show the effectiveness of animals to help people deal with stress. 

Politicians deal with stress every day and it's important to understand that as public officials, they must be able to deal with their stress in order to do their job effectively. Some lawmakers, including Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown already understand the important role animals can have in their offices and often bring their animals to work

More lawmakers should consider bringing their pets to work for the benefit the staff and their own health.