Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Thinking about Romney's dog, Seamus

This is an Irish Setter, presumably like Seamus

Here is the story from a 1983 trip made by the Mitt and Ann Romney and their five kids:

Seamus’ story first came to light in a 2007 Boston Globe profile of Mr. Romney that told the story of the voyage to his father’s cottage in the gated Beach O’ Pines community on Ontario’s Lake Huron:
“The white Chevy station wagon with the wood paneling was overstuffed with suitcases, supplies, and sons when Mitt Romney climbed behind the wheel to begin the annual 12-hour family trek from Boston to Ontario. … Before beginning the drive, Mitt Romney put Seamus, the family’s hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon’s roof rack. He’d built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.
According to the Globe, Mr. Romney told his family he would “be making predetermined stops for gas, and that was it,” but one of his sons, Tagg, eventually noticed something was amiss:
As the oldest son, Tagg Romney commandeered the way-back of the wagon, keeping his eyes fixed out the rear window, where he glimpsed the first sign of trouble. ”Dad!” he yelled. ”Gross!” A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who’d been riding on the roof in the wind for hours.
Mr. Romney responded to his dog’s defecation by “coolly” stopping at a gas station where he “borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway” with Seamus strapped back on the roof.
I also quote:
According to a trusted Politicker tipster, two of Mr. Romney’s sons had an off-record conversation with reporters where they revealed the dog ran away when they reached their destination on that infamous journey in 1983.
The Romney children were born between 1970 and 1981. Tagg, Matt and Josh would have been about 13, 12 and 8 at the time of the trip. Mitt Romney had graduated from law school and business school in 1975, and been recruited by a consulting firm, before switching to Bain and Company in 1977; he should have had a good income by 1983.

Not surprisingly lots of us are sickened by the idea of putting a dog through 12 hours of that kind of traumatic experience. I too had a young son in 1983 as well as a pet, and my wife and I had no difficulty finding ways to care for our pet if we went on vacation. Surely the Romney's could have boarded the dog in a kennel or had a neighbor take care of the animal at home.

I am wondering about Mrs. Romney and the three older children who apparently sat quiet in that car for hours while the dog was on the roof. What kind of father and what kind of mother would set a precedent like that for their kids? What did the kids do about the safety of their dog? About the dog's welfare?

This is not the first family I want for my country!

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