Of Dogs & GOP Compassion

It’s no secret I’m not a fan of any of the GOP candidates for president and I will be working hard to re-elect President Obama. But there is something really, really bothering me about Mitt Romney, and I can’t shake it from my head.

I heard it as a rumor at first, dismissing it like I dismiss so many things during election season…but then it came into the main stream media: Romney strapped his Irish Setter to the roof of his car in 1983 and drove all the way to Canada on a family trip. Seamus was so scared he pooped out of fear.

I realize we all treat dogs differently in our very different families. Some are used for hunting. Others are always kept outside. But in my family, the dogs are PART of the family. They sleep in our beds and eat our food and certainly ride INSIDE the car when going somewhere. I know some state’s have laws about strapping your dogs to the back bed of your pickup truck. I know some people think these are ‘just animals’ that can handle the outdoors or whatever…but Romney put the family dog ON THE ROOF OF HIS CAR AND DROVE AND DROVE even telling his kids they were stopping for gas and that was it.

Apparently I’m supposed to feel better Romney built a ‘windshield’ so Seamus wasn’t smacked by the 65 mile an hour drive winds. Apparently I’m supposed to feel better that this compassionate family man didn’t really give a crap that his dog was in a carrier, on the top of the family station wagon, while the family was warm and cozy inside the car.

Any man like that has told me more about his character in one family vacation, than I ever need to know. Forget telling me about his policy, his stance on issues, his ability to govern. He’s the kind of man who thinks so much of the family dog to make the Irish Setter luggage on top of his roof rack. His dog was nothing more than LUGGAGE.

Yeah. He’s that kind of guy.

As a mother who cares about family matters like health care, education, family leave, etc. I am happy to get into it issue by issue, candidate by candidate…however Romney’s family man bravado and fatherly decisions tell me more about him than any debate, campaign slogan, or press release ever will.

He’s that Dad, and there is no way I want him in the White House or any other house in my neighborhood or country.

Nicky lounging on the couch

Our family dog Nicky…who I would bet wouldn’t be allowed in Mitt’s couch like he is on ours.

I hope Nicky’s type of dog life is way more common than Seamus’. Because any family pet deserves better than being treated as luggage by the patriarch who is clearly lacking a heart…and possibly any common sense.


  1. I am horrified by this story, and by the man and his views.

  2. I think of the Seamus story often. I think it speaks volumes about Romney. When I listen to him, I hear thinly disguised rage – to me it is SO obvious that it freaks me out a little that some people don’t seem to hear it. He reminds me most of Nixon – not in looks, of course, but that contempt for people who don’t go along with what he says. As Miss Banshee said the other day, apropos of something completely different he has “the cold dead eyes of a shark.”

  3. Sue I just can’t think of anyone we’d call a ‘friend’ – regardless of political affiliation – that we’d ever consider something like this. Ever. I hear it . Believe me. I HEAR IT.

  4. I…WHAT?!? That just…I.

    Well, I think for once I may actually be speechless.

    My dog sleeps in the bed with me, too, and because she has sensitive skin we prepare special fresh meals of raw whole foods for her twice a day and give her fancy nutritional supplements. YOU KNOW how I feel about my dog, and the lengths I have gone to to ensure her health and comfort, despite my family’s financial situation. Even if I didn’t love her like a fourth child I just feel like if you take responsibility for an animal you need to treat it humanely, and that is just so far beyond the pale that…

    Yeah. I still don’t know what to say about that.

  5. I am nauseous just thinking about this. Yet, his party wants to criticize our first family for putting Bo on their Holiday card.
    We lost our Nelson last month at the age of 12 1/2 and have grieved for him as much as we grieved when my step daughter passed away. It is unfathomable that someone could do this to their pet.

    I love your Nicky. What a cutie!!!

  6. I’m so sorry to hear about your step daughter and your Nelson. I had to put my 17 year old cat Murphy down this year and it had Aaron and I sobbing like we haven’t sobbed in ages. Pets are family. This is not how anyone should treat family.

    And MFA Mama yes… I know. I know very well. ANd this just shows me what sort of man and family they have. The END.

  7. All I kept imagining was the Griswolds in Vacation, only it isn’t funny. This story is simply awful.

  8. You know, we don’t have pets (my husband is allergic and can walk into the best cleaned, hypo-allergenic, little dander creating, pet having home AND HIS EYES WILL SWELL SHUT. The kids want a pet. We’ll likely get fish (you know, that whole daddy might die nonsense he keeps using as an example). Anyway, even as a non-pet owner, this incenses me. What I’m curious about, though, is what does he say about this now? Would he still do it today? Would he not do it today only b/c of the backlash he received from doing it then? And in all honesty, it’s not just him. His wife allowed this to occur as well. She’s not running, but it makes me sick to think that when one spouse makes such a stupid decision the other won’t say um, hellloooooo? This is stupid. Move some shit around and make room for your other family member. It’s as simple as that. He’d have never thought to put one of the kids up there (or would he? It did have a windshield, after all) but it’s ok, because this was just the insignificant dog).

  9. I’m not fan of Romney but I’m not sure this is as big a crime as its being made out here. At first I thought the dog must have died, but all it did was poop? Lots of dogs ride in the back of pick up trucks everyday. My dog has litterally pooped because the doorbell rang.

    You know I think also there is a bit of “presentism” going on here, in which we see the past in the terms of the present. 1983 was a long time ago, and dogs were treated much more like pets back then then like they are treated today, which is more like human family members. I’m sure there are no shortage of stories like this from people of all walks of life from 30 years ago and beyond. Children, generations ago, used to be treated much more harshly then we treat our dogs today. Culture evolves.

  10. We had a dog in 83 and she was part of the family. She slept on my feet every night and she rode INSIDE the car. i don’t care what year it was – in 83 my parents would never treat a dog this way and there is a reason that many states outlawed dogs in the back of pick ups.

  11. I read that story from Gail Collins, and have always wondered if it’s true. I wouldn’t vote for the man regardless, but if indeed poor Seamus rode on the roof of the car, it is a pretty good clue that Romney lacks in compassion and kindness.

  12. “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who deal likewise with their fellow men.”
    -St. Francis of Assisi

  13. Good quote, Jamaise, especially in light of Romney’s statement that he liked firing people. He explained it that if someone wasn’t doing a job they were required to do, or do it well, but he certainly could have been more professional when he said it.


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