By now you've probably heard the saga of the Irish Setter Seamus, Mitt Romney's dog. If not, a quick recap: Mitt and the rest of the Romney family were preparing for a driving vacation in their Chevy station wagon that would take them and their dog from a family home in Boston to another in Canada.
The luggage went way in the back of the car, the Romney sons on the bench seats, and Mitt and wife Ann took the driver and front-passenger seats. Mitt Romney had adapted a crate with what he described as a plastic wind shield and secured it atop the car to transport their Irish Setter, Seamus.
Was cruising down the highway at 55 mph on a twelve-hour drive an adventure or agony for the noble, red-haired dog with the plume-like tail? Based on what occurred, it was likely the latter. At some point in the journey, one of Mitt Romney's boys noticed a brown fluid cascading down the rear window and alerted him to the mess.
Mitt pulled off the road and made an unscheduled stop at the first gas station, where he proceeded to secure a water hose and wash down the sick dog and the mess his diarrhea had rained on the car windows. The Romney family and dog then resumed their assigned positions and the long trip continued.
Pet Lovers Appalled by Treatment of Mitt Romney's Dog
Pet lovers of all kinds, regardless of their political persuasion, have been shocked and appalled by the way Mitt Romney handled traveling with the family dog.
The media has seized and delighted in the tale like a dog with a bone. Boston Globe reporter Neil Swidey broke the story about the non-joyride of Mitt Romney's dog in 2007. The New York Times op-ed columnist Gail Collins has made a point of mentioning Seamus every time she writes about Mitt Romney. The March 12, 2012 cover of The New Yorker featured Mitt at the wheel of a car with Rick Santorum atop it in a dog house.
On Facebook, a Dogs Against Romney page has close to 40,000 "likes" and this "super pack" offers a range of T-shirts with sayings that include "Never Forget Crate Gate" and "Dogs Aren't Luggage." The company also offers bumper stickers with pictures of different breeds and the tagline "I Ride Inside."
And at the 2012 Westminster Dog Show, a brief people-and-pets demonstration took place to protest transporting pets as luggage.
Alternatives to Crate Gate
By now I imagine Mitt Romney severely regrets having placed his dog atop his car and ridden off. It's too late for Seamus; rumor has it that the Irish Setter ran away after that harrowing ride.
Fortunately, animal lovers who travel have several more humane options:
- Stack luggage atop the station wagon; allow the animal to ride inside.
- Hire a pet van to transport the dog if there's no room in the car.
- Leave the dog with a trusted family friend or relative while on vacation.
- Board the dog at a boarding kennel or with a veterinarian.
- Hire a pet-sitter.
- Take a vacation closer to home at a pet-friendly hotel, inn, or B&B.
Living with and Loving a Dog