Portraits by Other Means

Our Better Halves

Our Better Halves
Credit: dogguide.net

Dogs can be used to advance political careers, to bring life to sitcoms, to discover theorems. And that’s just the beginning.

Pearl I, II, and III, Shorthaired Pointers

[Robert Parker] preferred staying in and watching baseball games with his German shorthaired pointer, Pearl. Mr. Parker had three German shorthairs named Pearl; when one Pearl died, he replaced it with another.

Shit, Breed Unknown

Molly Ivins: “The thing that amazes me about my dog Shit is her sense of presence. I believe she has a heavy rep as the most worthless dog in the Western world. She does not fuck up everyday, just any old time.

Moose, Jack Russell Terrier

“He just had an incredible charisma and was a such a free spirit,” Ms Halberg said of Moose.... Moose’s ability to stare at lead actor Kelsey Grammer for extended periods became a running joke on the program. When he had to lick his co-stars, however, liver pâté was dabbed behind their ears to achieve the required response.

Stuffy, Black Pug

Seated near the stove, [Leon Wieseltier] feeds Pup-Peroni Lean sticks to his black pug, Stuffy, who curls contentedly in his lap; he talks about the path he has traveled.

Checkers, Cocker Spaniel

Richard Nixon: “A man down in Texas heard Pat on the radio mention the fact that our two youngsters would like to have a dog. And, believe it or not, the day before we left on this campaign trip we got a message from Union Station in Baltimore saying they had a package for us. We went down to get it. You know what it was. It was a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he'd sent all the way from Texas. Black and white spotted. And our little girl—Tricia, the six-year old—named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it.”

Spot, Proposed Dog

Writing of her mother, Flannery O’Connor once told a friend, “I always thought that if she had a dog she’d name him Spot—without irony. If I had a dog I’d name him Spot, with irony. But for all practical purposes no one would know the difference.”

Ms. Beazley, Scottish Terrier

The affection between Mr. and Mrs. [George W.] Bush is obvious, and he’s not above giving her a friendly little pat on the rear. She says the president still gets up most mornings and brings her coffee. “That’s been our ritual our whole married life. And now he comes in with Ms. Beazley, our new little tiny dog. So she spends a little time running around on the bed and jumping on us.”

Diamond, Breed Unknown

Sir Isaac Newton loved animals and his closest friend may have been his dog Diamond. Apparently, Diamond was quite smart as well. Newton once told a friend that Diamond had helped him discover two theorems in a single morning, although one had a mistake and the other had a pathological exception. Diamond once accidentally knocked over a candle that destroyed years of Newton’s work. Newton replied, “O Diamond, Diamond, thou little knowest the damage thou hast done.”



TMN Editor Leah Finnegan is from Illinois by way of Texas. She splits her time between New York City and her website. More by Leah Finnegan

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