Tag Archives: Fala

Scottish Terrier Book Recommendation: Dogs of War by Kathleen Kinsolving


Reader Kathleen Kinsolving was nice enough to send me a copy of her recent book Dogs of War: The Stories of FDR’s Fala, Patton’s Willie, and Ike’s Telek. Fala and Telek, of course, are Scotties while Willie is another kind of terrier.

It’s a sweet little hardcover book that would make a great gift for the Scottish Terrier lovers in your life, including yourselves if you choose to go the self-gifting route.

What especially impressed me is that Kathleen turned up some great famous Scottie photos that I haven’t seen before. (Forgive the quality as I had to photograph it myself to reproduce here.) Were any of you familiar with this one of Fala getting ready for his close-up with the White House press corps?

And while we’re on the subject of Scottish Terrier literature, here’s an old post on Scottie books for kids and, if you’ve got time, the entire archive of book posts past.

Fala Tumblr gets better and better

Fala and FDR lookalikes on cover of Life magazine 1958

Wow! I hadn’t been over to the Fala Tumblr since the Scottie News first discovered it, but whoever runs it  just keeps turning up more and more fabulous stuff. In short, it’s more wow-worthy — or should we make that bow wow-worthy — than ever.

From the Google news archives, we can also bring you a 1958 review of the play, Sunrise at Campobello starring Ralph Bellamy and an anonymous Scottish Terrier. And, yes, you can order the movie version on Amazon.

The Scottie News is still looking to find out more about the terriers (presumably, there was more than one) who played Fala.

Wow! Entire site dedicated to FDR’s Fala!

Wow and wow again! Yesterday the Scottie News discovered a whole Tumblr website dedicated to the fabulous Fala. It’s got so many photos and videos all in one place that we’re willing to bet even the most diehard Fala fans will find something they’ve never seen before. On top of that, all the videos have been annotated so you can skip right to the good Fala parts if you’re so inclined.

For example, in this Fala at the Beach video, the famous Scottish Terrier appears at 5:37, 6:10 (up on hind legs), 6:56 (surf fishing), 7:12, 7:26 (digging in the sand), 9:05 (treats on the boat).

Scottie News also likes this item from Eleanor Roosevelt on how Fala relished the role of first dog:

Fala Never Forgot

“Readjustments in one’s inner life have to go on forever, I think, but my main decisions probably were made by the end of the first year. It was Fala, my husband’s little dog, who never really readjusted. Once, in 1945, when General Eisenhower came to lay a wreath on Franklin’s grave, the gates of the regular driveway were opened and his automobile approached the house accompanied by the wailing of the sirens of a police escort. When Fala heard the sirens, his legs straightened out, his ears pricked up and I knew that he expected to see his master coming down the drive as he had come so many times. Later, when we were living in the cottage, Fala always lay near the dining-room door where he could watch both entrances just as he did when his master was there. Franklin would often decide suddenly to go somewhere and Fala had to watch both entrances in order to be ready to spring up and join the party on short notice. Fala accepted me after my husband’s death, but I was just someone to put up with until the master should return. Many dogs eventually forget. I felt that Fala never really forgot. Whenever he heard the sirens he became alert and felt again that he was an important being, as he had felt when he was traveling with Franklin. Fala is buried now in the rose garden at Hyde Park and I hope he is no longer troubled with the need for any readjustments.” —From “On My Own” by Eleanor Roosevelt, 1958

Head on over and check out this Fala treasure trove.

From the dog news archives

In search of dog news, the Scottie News‘ special investigative unit recently stumbled across this item from Google’s historical archives:

Uh, oh, we thought. This looks like a variation on the destroyer-sent-to-pick-up-Fala myth that FDR had to address in his famous speech.

Luckily, once we clicked through to the original source, we discovered, it wasn’t President Franklin Roosevelt, but rather his son, Elliott, and the dog involved was a bull mastiff not a Scottish Terrier. Phew!

Elliott Roosevelt's dog causes seaman to be bumped from flight

Then we remembered that this dog had a history of trouble and had, in fact, once attacked Fala. It seems like trouble followed him around.

Scottish Terrier history: FDR’s Fala was once attacked by relative’s mastiff

In 1945, Time magazine reported:

Elliott Roosevelt’s famed Apriority bull mastiff, Blaze, 125 lbs., won a bloody encounter with 20-lb. Fala on the lawn at) Hyde Park. He lost to Malvina Thompson, Eleanor Roosevelt’s companion-secretary. When Blaze charged in a surprise attack, plucky Miss Thompson snatched the Scottie into her, arms. Blaze leaped. He got 1) Fala, 2) Miss Thompson (on the left index finger). Blaze tried to finish Fala. Miss Thompson conked Blaze with a rock. Fala went to the vet for a patching-up, Blaze (by Elliott’s order) went to the vet to be destroyed. The state got his head for a rabies test, found none. That saved Fala’s life.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s customary cordiality to the press sagged under the strain. To a reporter who asked for details, and quoted the Associated Press, she crackled: “Go back to your office and telephone the Associated Press and tell them to mind their own business.”

The attack is confirmed by FDR’s grandson Curtis in a book about his famous family.

Does this Scottie look like chopped liver to you?

Joanna writes:

Someone at Hopewell Furnace has a fuzzy memory…

McKearney has been in attendance at all the Fala Galas to date – (we have the “winner of the Fala Look alike contest” certificates and ribbons to prove it!) and will be there again this year!!!

It is a wonderful event and proved a great way to socialize a young Scottie!!!

McKearney certainly does look like Fala. He’s definitely got the shaggy look going on.