Back in November of 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was given what would come to be one of the greatest gifts he would ever receive. Mrs. Augustus G. Kellog gifted him a young black Scottish Terrier named “Big Boy” as an early Christmas gift. And by the time FDR received the dog he was already around six months old and very well trained by FDR’s cousin Margaret Suckleywhich, making him fit to live in the esteemed White House.
The President quickly renamed the terrier ‘Murray the Outlaw of Falahill’ after a Scottish ancestor and before long the dog was soon being referred to as Fala. The young pup quickly adapted to life at the White House. While there he would sleep at the foot of the President’s bed and enjoy a bone brought to him every morning that accompanied the President’s breakfast tray.
Roosevelt and Fala grew very close over the years. His faithful terrier would follow him almost everywhere he went and would accompany the President on his trips across the US and internationally. Before long Fala became a national icon in his own right. The little dog had two movies made about his time in the White House and even starred in a short run of political cartoons titled “Mr. Fala of the White House”.
Eventually, his fame grew so great that a secretary was hired to answer thousands of fan letters that he received constantly. However, Fala soon caused the President to come under fire when a Republican congressman falsely accused him of spending millions of taxpayer dollars on a naval destroyer to pick up Fala who was accidentally left behind on a trip. This soon led to FDR’s famous Fala speech where he defended himself humorously while addressing the Teamsters Union.
Unfortunately, President Roosevelt passed away on April 12th,1945. Fala attended the funeral font and center to honor his deceased master and best friend. Fala spent the rest of his days with Mrs. Roosevelt where he was loved very much, but the terrier seemed lost without his beloved master. Mrs. Roosevelt is quoted in her autobiography writing “Fala accepted me after my husband’s death, but I was just someone to put up with until the master should return.”.
Fala died years later on April 5, 1952, and was buried in The Rose Garden near the President at their home in Hyde Park. This little dog captured the hearts of millions and was a loyal companion to his master which will be remembered for years to come.