A Governor's Best Friend

From Joe Six-Packs to a nine-term U.S. senator, everyone is worried about tainted pet food. Reaction to the recall from governors has been surprisingly ...
by | April 23, 2007
 

Schweitzerjag From Joe Six-Packs to a nine-term U.S. senator, everyone is worried about tainted pet food. Reaction to the recall from governors has been surprisingly muted, however, especially since many are dog and cat owners. Among the first pets who have made news:

* Jag, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer's border collie, helps the governor raise money for Democratic candidates and even scored higher approval ratings than him in one poll.

* Faux Paw, the feline companion of former Utah Governor Michael Leavitt, even had his own e-mail address: fauxpaw@gov.state.ut.us. The cat served as the inspiration for a delightful animated film about Internet safety (see the link on the left on this site), with the Faux Paw character voiced by Leavitt's wife, Jacalyn.

* Mandy and Ginger, Ed Rendell's golden retrievers, were instrumental in keeping the state House of Representatives in the hands of the Democrats in January. I'm not kidding (well, not entirely), click the link if you don't believe me.

But anyone who has read Old Yeller or Where the Red Fern Grows knows that not all dog stories end happily:

* Marvin, Jeb Bush's black lab, died only days before he was scheduled to attend the signing of legislation to permit dogs in restaurants. Bush named the canine after his brother (I'm sure brother Marvin appreciated that).

* Murphy, Governor John Baldacci's springer spaniel, died last year, with the governor eulogizing him as "the most patted dog in the state of Maine." Baldacci now has two new dogs, Sam and Mia.

* Washington Governor Christine Gregoire last year mourned the loss of Franz, a Pomeranian, who was struck by a car. In life, Franz was controversial, with Republicans charging that he shouldn't have been protected by state troopers.

* Similarly, Abby, Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher's westie, came under scrutiny from AP reporters curious about her expenses. (It's only a rumor that Abby holds a six-figure state job.)

* Of course there's also an upside to being a famous pet. When Sophie, Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry's shih tzu, disappeared in 2005, she was discovered and returned by a woman who had seen the dog's photo on the front page (!) of the Oklahoman, the most read newspaper in the state.

All of this is to say that a whole bunch of state leaders missed the opportunity for outraged pet-food press conferences with Fido in tow. Where's Governor Brinkley when you need him? 

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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