These days, most people don’t remember that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had a dog. Fala was a Scottish terrier. FDR named him Murray the Outlaw of Falahill, after a famous Scottish ancestor. The name was soon shortened to Fala. FDR was extraordinarily fond of his little dog.
Fala lived in the lap of luxury at the White House, and everywhere the president went, Fala followed along. Despite the objections of FDR’s wife, Eleanor, Fala could be seen everywhere from the Oval Office to overseas, standing at the side of his master, or sometimes sitting in his master’s lap. At home, Fala slept at the foot of his master’s bed.
Fala could also do tricks, and FDR spoke of him frequently, with always an amusing story to tell. He even once defended his defenseless little dog from a Republican rumor, insisting that the rumor made Fala’s “Scottish blood” boil.
At the moment FDR died in 1945, Fala immediately woke up barking, then bashed his big black head against a screen door. The screen door broke, and Fala ran yipping and barking to the top of a hill, then just stood there quietly.
“The screen door broke, and Fala ran yipping and barking to the top of a hill, then just stood there quietly.”
After the death of his beloved master, Fala accepted FDR’s widow, Eleanor, as his caretaker. But even Eleanor noticed that Fala’s eyes always scanned the distance for his master. The world’s most famous Scottie lived to be almost 12 years old. When Fala died, he was buried near the gravesite of FDR, at the foot of his master’s bed, so to speak.
Today, there is a statue of Fala sitting beside FDR at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington DC. Fala is the only presidential pet to be honored in such a way.
If you enjoyed this post, you should read “Crazy Dog” here.
If you are interested in reading more about Fala, you can find information on Wikipedia and/or through Time here. Are you a dog history buff? Share your story below!