Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fla. Gov. Rick Scott returns adopted dog after winning election

If the story is true, as it appears to be, then Florida Governor Rick Scott adopted a dog in 2010, used it as a campaign prop, and then returned it right after winning the election.

Florida governor RETURNED the rescue dog he adopted for his 2010 election campaign... AFTER he'd won.

When finally cornered on this by reporters who noticed that the dog he'd campaigned with and named "Reagan" after soliciting names for "the newest member of the family" on Facebook, Scott claimed that the dog barked at people and therefore "wasn't a good fit" for his household.

Apparently Governor Scott and I differ on what it means when you take an animal in and invite it to join the family.

Those of you who've been around a while remember Lagniappe. Lagniappe was a rescue from a kennel that specialized in police dogs. When he washed out at the end of his training, he was exiled to a dog run and left to languish until I happened upon him several months later. By that time, he'd gone near feral, and to call him a basket case would be an understatement. The kennel owner handed me his leash and told me not to worry about paying for him..."just take him home, and if you don't want him, bring him back like everyone else does."

Yeah, he was that rough when I brought him home. But I was determined to work with him, if for no other reason than because he was related by blood to my last Shepherd, Oliver. That and his hard-luck story made me want to keep working with him long after he'd exhausted my patience. For weeks, he wouldn't even stay in the same room of my apartment that I was in, and outside, when he managed to slip his leash, getting him back was a major chore as he'd refuse to come to me and he'd just sit or lay down several yards away from me, getting up to move every time I got close. I think that the only reason that he didn't just run straight away was that he knew that he had nowhere else to go. He bit me once, too. In a sudden and unexpected challenge for the Alpha role, he grabbed me by the arm and drew blood before I was able to slam him up against a wall and choke him out. But we worked through all of these issues, and once we learned to trust each other, he was a fantastic dog, one that I'll always be proud of.
But he sure was an asshole that first month.

Murphy? Well he's a rescue, too. He comes off of doggie death row after a serious biting incident involving someone who was tormenting him over a prolonged period of time. He spent nearly a year in the dog pound after that, and though he was picked up by a rescue society and spared, he was so bad there that the foster--a professional dog trainer--was leery of him. Again, he came free of charge, mainly because he was a hot mess who'd been brought back by other potential owners. And Murphy was quite an asshole too when I took him in, and he's still one at times. He's incredibly headstrong and the challenges to my authority keep coming, but he's stopped trying to bite every third person that he comes into contact with, UPS drivers and people who approach the Lair when he's on his deck notwithstanding. However he's a totally different dog than the sullen landshark that I invited into my home a little over two years ago (has it really been that long?) and now he's a joy to bring around other people or just have at my feet as I read my books in the gun room or in front of the fire.

Dogs, like people, have personalities and histories. They can all be won over in time--my two guys prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt--but it takes work and commitment and lots of time spent with the dog until he or she understands what you expect of them and comes to respect you as the master that they want to please. When I took both of these guys in, I knew that it wasn't going to be smooth or easy, but I was committed to working with them regardless of any problems that I knew that we were going to have. And it took a long time in both cases (and with Murphy, we're still working on a few things) but the effort his been worth it for both dog and man.

Bottom line: You can get any dog to come around in time, but you can't just grab one, use it as a photo op, then ignore it and get mad when it's behavior is suboptimal. Rick Scott could use a lesson or two in how to manage dogs, and now it looks like he's about to get a lesson in how to handle the media and legions of angry dog owners like myself.


  1. Here's what I think of you as a dog owner ML. If I had to choose anyone else to care for Angus if something happened to me and Lu it'd be you. Scott should be damned ashamed of himself. I know I'm ashamed of him.

  2. Six, Angus would be welcome here any time, however I'd rather that you and Lu stick around to keep him company.

  3. Murphy is a great dog - he always has such a happy face.

    And I'm OK with dogs biting people who torment them. Serves them right.

  4. Totally agree with PH. You abuse a dog, you can't complain when that dog gets fed up and decides to remind you that that's not how to treat a family member. ML, my hat's off to you for taking the time to work with those two.

  5. Isn't there an old saw somewhere about being able to tell the character of a man by how he treats his dogs?

    OK class, compare and contrast Gov. Scott and Murphy's Law.

  6. Anonymous3:05 PM

    Why people abuse any animal especially dogs are sick in the head

  7. As the owners of 2 "pound puppies" one of whom had been bounced in and out of the pound for a couple of years and another that only lives in our hearts and memories, I don't think we could have found more loving and truly wonderful dogs. Sure, they have some faults but who doesn't. Shame on the governor!