A huge controversy ensued with Joe Biden this week, as the White House dog was “fixed” and a handsome, young replacement, Commander, moved into First Doghouse.
Farewell, Major. If that’s any consolation for you, The two House impeachment committees voted to re-elect the last person elected to live in the White House, a man who has done more damage than simply pointed his nose at tourists. He is far from being a good boy and you are one, so we wish you happiness in your new life.
With that said, we have to admit that Commander is very cute. I mean realistic, really cute in the way that German Shepherds are bound, have loose joints, bunny ears, are relentlessly optimistic, chew things, chase balls often. And we are happy to remind once again that our current president, the most powerful man in the world, is at his core a dog man.
The last owner of the White House famously disliked dogs. And he is a dick. Those two facts are not unrelated. It doesn’t mean that if you don’t like dogs, you will become the most corrupt president in American history or a racist, sexually abusive coup plotter. It just has more possibilities.
Living with a dog requires one important thing Donald Trump doesn’t have: empathy. You see, dogs can’t talk. They communicate all the time. But not verbally. So to care about them, to enjoy them, to get to know them, you have to pay attention to the clues they give you, their moods, their expressions, the way they lick when they want a dish. And those who took the time to connect with animals were more likely to do the same with humans, feeling compassion, tenderness, and appreciation for other lives.
Biden is one such person. In fact, the qualities that make him want, need, share his house with his dogs are exactly the same qualities that made many people choose him over Trump.
They are the kind of quality that we appreciate in our friends and colleagues. They are the kind that we celebrate this time of year. They are the kind that seem especially important in Washington today, when Joe Manchins of this world throw America’s needy and starving children to the curb to cater to their agendas driven by greed, discredit, hypocrisy, and immorality. (Turns out a Santa Claus coal has nothing on the big coal Manchin just put in our socks.)
Of course, having a dog is no guarantee that a president will be a person of character. Nixon had Checkers, after all — also a Yorkie, a poodle, and an Irish settler. In fact, almost all presidents have owned dogs. Washington is considered not only the father of our nation but also of a breed he helped create, the American Foxhound. Jefferson, as you might expect, chose to focus on one French breed, the Briard. Franklin Roosevelt had a famous puppy named Fala, who received letters from his own fans and eight others… including a German Shepherd named Major.
“The last owner of the White House famously disliked dogs. And he is a dick. Those two facts are not unrelated.
However, not having a dog or any kind of friend with hair is a warning sign. Aside from Trump, only two previous presidents had no pets while in office. One is Andrew Johnson, whom Trump aspires to be the modern version of and who, like Trump, was impeached and disgraced and refused to attend the inauguration of his successor. The other is James K. Polk, who is best known for starting the Mexican-American War (something Trump always hoped he could do).
In the interest of animal justice, I should note that the president’s other pets include cats (Lincoln, Hayes, McKinley, Wilson, Coolidge, Kennedy, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush 43), horses (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Jackson, Tyler, Taylor, Lincoln, Grant, Garfield, Arthur, Kennedy), ponies (Taylor, Fillmore, Grant, Kennedy) and donkeys (Wasington, Coolidge). These include a variety of birds including parrots (Washington, Madison, Jackson, McKinley), mockingbirds (Jefferson, Cleveland), canaries (John Tyler, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Kennedy), eagles (Buchanan), chickens Western (Lincoln), cockerel (Jackson, McKinley), songbird (Wilson, Coolidge), geese (Coolidge), duck (Kennedy), macaw (Eisenhower, Kennedy), lovebird (Johnson), bird Gold (Coolidge).
Presidential camps also include: bear cubs (Jefferson), silkworms (John Quincy Adams), crocodiles (John Quincy Adams, B. Harrison), tiger cubs (Martin Van Buren), cows (William Henry Harrison, William Howard Taft, Bush 43), goat (William Henry Harrison, Lincoln, Benjamin Harrison), rabbit (Lincoln, Arthur, Kennedy), holly (B. Harrison, Hoover), ram (Wilson), sheep (Wilson), squirrel ( Harding), raccoon (Coolidge), lynx (Coolidge), lion (Coolidge), pygmy hippo (Coolidge), wall rat (Coolidge), duiker (Coolidge), black bear (Coolidge) and hamster (Kennedy, Johnson) .
And then there’s Teddy Roosevelt, who has a guinea pig, a pony, a hen, a lizard, a macaw, a garter snake, a black bear, a rat, a badger , a pig, a rabbit, a cat, a laughing hyena, an owl and a one-legged rooster — in addition to his many dogs.
I’m not saying that having an alligator or grizzly around the house will necessarily improve the president’s nonverbal communication skills, but it doesn’t hurt. And when it comes to dogs, the reality is that they are more than just our pets, as my wife, Carla, likes to point out, our teachers. They teach us to look for clues about how others are feeling. They remind us to prioritize our responsibilities to others. In fact, day after day, they provide us with countless lessons.
For example, Carla, the dog whisperer who introduced me to life with a dog, and who often presents and teaches at universities (not about dogs) often asks students who are looking for clues on how to live life, “What’s your ball? ? What is it that you naturally run after, what does it mean to you? That’s what you should focus on in life.”
Our dog, Grizzly, an 85-pound rescue from Texas, has taught me since the moment he first came into our lives, three years ago. For sure I am a better me around that gentle beast even when I don’t quite feel that truth when I take it for a walk on a cold winter morning. But even then, I can still learn from him. For example, this morning I watched him and thought to myself, if only I had thought as carefully about the choices I make in life as he does deciding where to pee.
Donald Trump is such a narcissist that there is no room in his heart for any other creature, regardless of species. Hence his attacks as president on nature itself, his locking of children in cages, throwing tissues at hurricane victims, and more. I wonder in retrospect if the White House was spoiled not because that president wasn’t interested in having a dog but because no self-respecting dog wants to be related to him.
So it’s a note of grace for this holiday season, that among the dark stories of this moment, we have one that reminds us of another important difference between good men and women. basically our president and who has only been in office for a short time. years ago, spent a dog-free Christmas plotting attacks on our democracy.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/we-have-a-president-who-loves-dogs-again-in-joe-biden-and-not-a-minute-too-soon?source=articles&via=rss We have a dog-loving president again in Joe Biden, and it’s not a minute too soon
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