Thursday, June 16, 2011

President George W. Bush and His Pets

George W. Bush is the son of President George H.W. Bush, who I already told you about.  You probably remember that the older Bushes owned Millie, the springer spaniel who had a litter of puppies in the White House and who also wrote a best-selling book.  Well, when the younger George Bush got to be president in 2001, he still had one of Millie's puppies, who was named Spot Fletcher, and she moved back into the White House, where she had first been born.  Spot Fletcher was named after Scott Fletcher,  who was the shortstop of the Texas Rangers when Mr. George W. Bush used to own the team.  And even though Spot Fletcher sounds kind of like a boy's name, the dog it belonged to was really a girl.

Well, before I tell you more about President Bush's pets, I will just tell you a little bit about the man himself.  He was born on July 6, 1946, and he grew up in Texas.  He went to Yale University and to Harvard Business School.  Then he worked in the oil business for a while.  He married Laura Welch in 1977.  In 1994, he was elected Governor of Texas, and he ran for President in 2000.  He got elected, but it was a close election that had to be decided by a group called the Electoral College, and a lot of people were angry about how the election turned out.  But Mom said I shouldn't talk about politics, so I won't.

Anyway, when President and Mrs. Bush and their twin daughters moved into the White House, they had Spot the springer spaniel, like I already told you.  And also they had a Scottish Terrier named Barney, who was born on September 30, 2000, in New Jersey.  His mother, Coors, was owned by Christine Todd Whitman, who was the former Environmental Protection Agency Director and the former Governor of New Jersey.  Ms. Whitman gave Barney to Mr. Bush as a gift.

Barney got to be famous right away because he had his own website and he made videos for YouTube with people such as Dolly Parton, Tony Blair, and Karl Rove.  The president loved Barney very much and liked to play ball with him on the White House lawn.  He said that Barney was "the son I never had."  When the war in Iraq was going badly and the president's poll ratings went down, some people said that Mr. Bush was using Barney as a WMD -- a "weapon of mass distraction."  Personally, I don't see anything wrong with that because dogs are good at loving you, no matter what, and that helps distract you from all the bad stuff that's going on.

But speaking of bad stuff, a sad thing that happened during President Bush's first term was that Spot got old and sick and had to be put to sleep.  She was 15 when she died, so she had a long and good life.

After that, there were just two pets in the White House, Barney and India, the cat.  India was a totally black cat that the Bush family adopted when she was a kitten in 1990.  At that time, the Bush daughters were 9 years old.  India lived in the Texas governor's mansion, and then she lived in the White House, so she had some pretty nice places to live in.

Some people in the country of India got very upset about the First Family's having a cat named India because they thought it was an insult to the Indian nation.  In the state of Kerala, more than 100 dogs were supposedly re-named "Bush" to get back at President Bush for his cat's name.  Also an effigy of Mr. Bush was burned in protest.  The real truth is that the cat had not been named for the country of India.  Instead, she was named for a Texas Rangers player, Rubén Sierra, who was called "El Indio."  So the Bushes did not change the name of their cat.

India did not get to be as famous with the press and the American people as Barney did, but she did show up in some of the videos that were made of the Scotty.  On January 4, 2009, India died at the White House, when she was 18 years old.  The First Lady said, "India was a beloved member of the Bush family for almost two decades.  She will be greatly missed."

The last First Pet while President Bush was in office was Miss Beazley, who was also a Scottish Terrier. In fact, she was Barney's niece.  President Bush gave Miss Beazley to Mrs. Bush as a birthday present in 2005.  The name came from Uncle Beazley, who was a dinosaur in the children's book The Enormous Egg, by Oliver Butterworth.  After Miss Beazley joined the family, she soon started getting more privileges than Barney ever got.  But this seems only fair to me because a girl puppy is bound to be much cuter and sweeter than a boy puppy.  At least that's my opinion.

Anyway, everyone in the White House got kind of grumpy in 2008 when President Bush and the Republicans weren't very popular anymore, and the Democrats won the election.  Barney was so grouchy that he bit a couple of people.  The first person he bit was the public relations director for the Boston Celtics, Heather Walker.  He bit her on the wrist and broke the skin, so she had to get all bandaged up.

The second person he bit was Jon Decker, who was a Reuters news reporter.  Mr. Decker got bit on one finger and had to get a tetanus shot and antibiotics.  Both of these people got bitten by Barney when they tried to pet him.  I don't know why Barney decided to bite, but maybe he felt scared and threatened somehow.  Or maybe he just needed to have his thyroid tested.

Anyway, the Bush family moved out of the White House in January of 2009, when the Obamas moved in.  Of course, they took Barney and Miss Beazley with them, and the whole family moved to a house in Dallas.  Well, except for the daughters, who were all grown up and had already gone off to live their own lives.  Now Mr. Bush does some public speaking, and he also wrote a book about his life.  And as far as I know, he is still playing ball with his Scotties out on the lawn.


  1. I read your blog all the time, but never comment. My daddy works at the White House and got to spend a lot of time with Barney and Miss Beazley (us dogs did not like that since he would come home sometimes smelling like them!) He really liked Miss Beazley, and would sometimes kick around a ball for the dogs if he wasn't too busy (he is in the Secret Service so he has to not be distracted). Barney never bit him, but really he just wanted to be left alone, and all the press annoyed him. I totally understand, I wouldn't like people hanging around my house all the time! I am sure I would bite someone too!

  2. Dear Annie,
    I think it's so cool that your daddy is in the Secret Service and gets to play with the First Dogs sometimes. Does he ever get to play with Bo Obama? I think I might like Bo more than I would like Barney, but maybe that's just because Bo is black-and-white, like me! Anyway, I agree that it would be annoying to have the press around all the time, trying to pet you and take your picture. I can see why it would make a dog want to bite somebody!
    Your friend, Piper

  3. No matter what I think about a president, I always appreciate stories about his dog(s).

    "I don't know why Barney decided to bite, but maybe he felt scared and threatened somehow. Or maybe he just needed to have his thyroid tested."

    This is why this blog is awesome.

  4. Dear Shibasenji,
    Mom will finally let me admit that she really couldn't stand President Bush and the stuff he did, but she did like learning about his dogs and cat. So I guess that means that she agrees with your comment!

    Oh, and thanks for saying my blog is awesome!

    Your friend, Piper

  5. Daddy has met Bo, but hasn't played with him. He has been moved to another area of the House and isn't really as involved in protection anymore, or he would probably have spent more time with Bo.

    Also I wanted to tell you a story about President Bush. One night, Daddy was outside the White House in the middle of the night, doing his job, and was alerted that the President was going to be coming to where he was. Barney and Miss Beazley had to go to the bathroom, and instead of having someone else take them out, the President did it in his pajamas! We might not really like him politically, but you can't help but think he is a good guy if he did that! I know my mommy grumbles sometimes when we need to go out in the middle of the night, and I am pretty sure if she could, she would have someone else do it!

    My mommy didn't really like President G.W. Bush, but she did wish she could have spent some time with Barney and Miss Beazley! Also she changed her opinion a little bit when she heard the story of him letting the dogs out in the middle of the night rather than having someone else do it for him! I wish I could have gone and played ball with Barney and Miss Beazley at least once! That would have been so cool!

    Maybe Bo will have a doggie playdate someday and I can go meet him! Probably not, but I would like to meet a famous dog someday!

  6. I really like the story about President Bush in his pajamas! That's the kind of thing my mom would do if I had to go out during the night. Except that my mom doesn't have any other choice about who can go open the door!

    I hope you get to play with Bo someday. That would be lots of fun!

    Your friend, Piper

  7. I certainly enjoyed this blog, after reading it I sat and tried to remember other pets that have lived in the White House. I can't say I did an above average job with my recall...but it was fun. Guess you can tell I'm easily entertained.

    By the way, I dont know if your mom noticed but one of her high school friends, Debbie Wakefield, mentioned your blog on her FB page the other day. :)
    L - AP

  8. Dear Aunt Patty,
    I have written several blog entries about presidents and their pets, and you have probably read them all in the past. Mom bought a book on this subject, so that helps. When I finish writing about First Pets, I will have to write about some other subject.

    I didn't know that Aunt Debbie mentioned my blog on Facebook. Mom doesn't let me read Facebook very often because she thinks I will want my very own Facebook page, like some of my basenji and greyhound friends have, and she is too lazy to help me make one. She says that having a blog of my own is enough for one little dog to handle. And maybe she's right, but I still think it might be fun to have my own FB page.

    Love, Piper