Fala, a canine celebrity 

What’s up y’all? This is Lydia Tyndall here with another Miscellany article!!!!!!


President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Scottish Terrier Fala was no ordinary dog. He was a canine celebrity. 

Fala moved into the white house in November of 1940. He had been a gift to the president from his cousin. Shortly after arriving, Fala discovered the place of his dreams, the White House Kitchen. Here, he could eat scraps and leftovers to his heart’s content. Unfortunately, his stomach could not handle this diet. Roosevelt made an order stating that no one except the president was allowed to give Fala any food. His digestive troubles quickly cleared up.   

Being the dog of a president meant living in the spotlight. Fala was frequently photographed by the press, met world leaders, and was even the star of a Hollywood film. While some dogs would become overwhelmed by this much attention, Fala loved it. 

In addition to their busy public lives, Fala and his master shared a deep mutual affection. The pair were inseparable. Fala accompanied Roosevelt everywhere. Secret Service agents called him “The Informer,” because whenever someone saw the little black dog, they knew the president was not far away.

On one visit to a naval ship, Fala played with some of the sailors while his master rested. To remember their visit with the famous dog, they cut off little pieces of his fur as souvenirs. Afterward Roosevelt wondered why his dog looked so bare. 

Most of the time Fala stayed out of politics, but with the president as his master, some involvement was unavoidable. When Roosevelt was running for his fourth term in office ,some of his Republican political opponents spread a story saying that while on a trip Roosevelt accidentally left  his dog behind. They said he then sent a naval destroyer to rescue him at the cost of taxpayers. 

In a campaign speech Roosevelt stated his opinion on the subject. 

These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog Fala.’’ He went on to say, “Well of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family doesn’t resent attacks, but Fala does resent them.” 

His humorous tone caused the audience to break out in laughter and the speech helped seal his victory in the election. 

A few months into his fourth term, Roosevelt died, leaving Fala grief stricken. He outlived his master by seven years, and when he died in 1952 he was buried at the foot of Roosevelt’s grave. 

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