Fala was FDR’s Scottish Terrier. Fala was devoted to him and FDR was devoted to Fala.

One story in particular resonated in this election season of insults and attacks. It seems that FDR had been insulted by his Republican opponents (it seems not much has changed). In response he had these words to say during on of his radio broadcasts:

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. Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family don’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’d left him behind on an Aleutian island and had sent a destroyer back to find him—at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or twenty million dollars—his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself … But I think I have a right to resent, to object, to libelous statements about my dog.

Source: “1944 Radio News, 1944-09-23 FDR Teamsters Union Address – Fala (27:45–30:08)”. Internet Archive. Retrieved 2014-06-02. The speech itself can be found here.

Apparently the idea to turn the Republican attack into a joke came from no less a person than Orson Welles.

Fala’s devotion to FDR seems to have continued beyond the grave. According to Fala Still Seeking His Master Franklin Roosevelt he:

…roams Washington Square Park in search of the thirty-second president of the United States. He had been the dog of Franklin but not really Eleanor Roosevelt. She declared that the dog just barely tolerated her but adored his master. Fala knew Washington Square Park well, when Eleanor lived at 29 Washington Square West from 1942 to 1949. This had been intended to be the urban digs for FDR because it was wheelchair accessible.

I imagine that FDR’s love of dogs (which I can understand. I’m pretty fond of terriers myself) is the reason why Springwood is so “dog friendly”. And thankfully it is or Harley and myself would have been standing in the rain for 1 1/2 hours waiting for my wife and brother-in-law to finish at the Presidential Library.




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