On this day in 1944, during a speech to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a recent political attack against his dog, Fala. He defended his dog’s honor by saying:
“These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family doesn’t resent attacks, but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I had left him behind on the Aleutian Islands and had sent a destroyer back to find him — at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or twenty million dollars — his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself — such as that old, worm-eaten chestnut that I have represented myself as indispensable. But I think I have a right to resent, to object to libelous statements about my dog.”
Fala, a small, black Scottish terrier, accompanied Roosevelt almost everywhere he went. The two of them are depicted in a statue by Neil Estern at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C., making him the first and only pet to be included in a presidential memorial.