October 23, 1901
A little incident which somebody about the White House witnessed the other day is significant both as an illustration of certain traits in the character of President Roosevelt and as an example for his admirers. There has been an impression among certain of his critics that he believed “the strenuous life” to consist chiefly in hunting and killing animals; but though a mighty hunter, he is not merely a Nimrod, as the following occurrence shows.
It was a rainy, dreary day, soon after Mr. Roosevelt’s return to Washington, and after a busy morning the President and his secretary started out for a walk. Just outside the door lay a homeless, friendless dog, as close to the wall as he could get, his body curled up into the smallest possible bunch to avoid the rain and possible observation. As the two men emerged from the door he looked up apprehensively to see if a kick or a stern “Be off with you, now!” would compel him to beat a rapid retreat. But nothing of the sort occurred. Mr. Roosevelt’s expressive face on a pitying and kindly look, and bending down, he stroked the animal’s head and pulled him gently by the ears.
“Poor doggie, haven’t you any master?” he inquired. Then he went back into the house, and the dog, with instinctive understanding of the situation, trotted close at his heels. The President ordered he should be taken to the kitchen and given a good meal; and it is said that that dog will be the dog of the White House during this administration.
Mr. Roosevelt is not one of those sportsmen who are satisfied with popping away at tame pigeons. When he goes hunting he wants the excitement of killing a dangerous wild beast. It will be a good thing for his boy admirers to remember that the man who led the charge at San Juan Hill was quite as ready to befriend a homeless cur as to hunt cougars or grizzlies.