A PRESIDENT’S PAL: ‘Barney,’ 2000-2013: America’s ‘First Dog’ During George W. Bush White House Years

Former President George W. Bush has announced on Facebook the passing of “Barney,” America’s “First Dog” between Jan. 20, 2001, and Jan. 20, 2009. Barney was 12. During his White House years, Barney had his own website. Barney was much beloved by the Bush family.

From President Bush on Facebook (italics added):

Laura and I are sad to announce that our Scottish Terrier, Barney, has passed away. The little fellow had been suffering from lymphoma and after twelve and a half years of life, his body could not fight off the illness.

Barney and I enjoyed the outdoors. He loved to accompany me when I fished for bass at the ranch. He was a fierce armadillo hunter. At Camp David, his favorite activity was chasing golf balls on the chipping green.

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. Barney greeted Queens, Heads of State, and Prime Ministers. He was always polite and never jumped in their laps.

Barney was by my side during our eight years in the White House. He never discussed politics and was always a faithful friend. Laura and I will miss our pal.

"Barney" on the White House lawn. (Facebook.)

“Barney” on the White House lawn. (Facebook.)

Whether Barney had any sense that he was America’s “First Dog” and that his owner was the President of the United States are, of course, imponderable questions.

What’s not imponderable is that dogs provide a special kind of joy as they go about the business of simply being a dog.

Barney’s official biography lists his date of birth as Sept. 30, 2000.

His mother was “Coors,” owned by former New Jersey Gov. and EPA Director Christine Todd Whitman. Barney’s father was Kelly of “Champion Motherwell Stormwarning.”

It’s a good thing that a President can have a dog, but it’s a better thing yet that a dog can have a President — or any other loving owner.

The PP Blog holds President George W. Bush in the highest esteem for his service to his country. He is an eminently decent man.

Barney was not yet one when his owner, speaking to school children in Florida, was told that an airliner had just hit the World Trade Center . . .

America’s current “First Dog” is “Bo,” a gift to the Obamas from the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, a brother of President John F. Kennedy.

Thinking of the Bush family today and of how dogs can help even Presidents caught up in extraordinary circumstances reestablish a sense of the ordinary.

“Barney,” 2000-2013. Sense of surroundings: imponderable. Favorite toys: volleyball, golf balls. Official activities: White House holiday tours. Diplomatic relations. Outreach. (Has own IMDB listing.) Joy provided the Bush family during the President’s pressure-cooker days in the White House: inestimable. Career highlight: Called a “lump” by Karl Rove and criticized by Vladimir Putin, who opined that world leaders should own larger dogs. Loyalty to President Bush: unquestioned. (Once bit a Reuters reporter.)

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