When America had a real First Dog, not a prop like we have now.
US President George W. Bush(2nd-R) and First Lady Laura Bush (R) trail behind their dog Barney after arriving back at the White House 07 November, 2004. (AFP PHOTO / TIM SLOAN)
Former First Dog Barney Bush — a black Scottish terrier known for chasing golf balls and taking America on video tours of the White House — has passed away after a battle with lymphoma. He was 12.
An oil painting of Barney by former President George W. Bush.
Former President George W. Bush announced on Friday the passing of the “little fellow,” saying in a news release that “after twelve and a half years of life, his body could not fight off the illness.”
“Barney was by my side during our eight years in the White House,” said Bush, who also released Friday an oil painting he did of Barney. “He never discussed politics and was always a faithful friend. Laura and I will miss our pal.”
Barney was born Sept. 30, 2000, according to his official biography. His mother was Coors, a Scottish Terrier owned by former Environmental Protection Agency Director Christine Todd Whitman, and his father was Kelly of Champion Motherwell Stormwarning.
Barney had his own section on the Bush Administration’s official White House website, along with a fairly substantial Wikipedia page. And he became of fixture of presidential proceedings at the White House, Camp David and the Bushes’ Crawford ranch.
“At Camp David, his favorite activity was chasing golf balls on the chipping green,” Bush said. “Barney guarded the South Lawn entrance of the White House as if he were a Secret Service agent. He wandered the halls of the West Wing looking for treats from his many friends. He starred in Barney Cam and gave the American people Christmas tours of the White House.”
Among Barney’s many notable adventures was the time he bit the hand of a White House reporter who got too close. Former Bush political guru Karl Rove jokingly called the dog a “lump.”
Bush said Barney was a “fierce armadillo hunter” who “loved to accompany me when I fished for bass at the ranch.” Bush also said the dog was “always polite” when meeting queens, heads of state and prime ministers and that Barney “never jumped in their laps.”
Criticism by Karl Rove and Vladimir Putin
White House official Karl Rove remarked shortly after his resignation that Barney was “a lump.” Barney has also been criticized by Russian President Vladimir Putin who feels a world leader should own large robust dogs, not smaller breeds such as the Scottish Terrier. At a later date, when Putin introduced Bush to Koni, his black labrador, Putin is reported to have remarked that Koni is “(b)igger, tougher, stronger, faster, meaner, than Barney.”