By Michael Thompson
It was Dec. 8, 1941. Washington, D.C. The House Chamber. The commander in chief had just addressed the nation, the day after the day “which will live in infamy:” Dec. 7, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s beloved Navy was “suddenly and deliberately” attacked by Japanese warplanes at Pearl Harbor. Deeply worried and terribly weary, the beleaguered president knew the only solution would be to declare war on the Japanese Empire.
As FDR entered the White House late that evening, a huge weight was lifted. There was Fala, reporting for duty. The overjoyed Scottie Terrier leaped into his master’s arms, licking his face with a multitude of canine kisses. It was the first time in countless hours that the president would be granted some desperately needed relief. He knew his Fala was the source of unconditional love, an invaluable ingredient needed to help win the war against the Axis powers and save the Free World.
Gen. George S. Patton and Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower knew it too.
The battles they waged, the campaigns strategies they devised, and the GIs they rallied were duties which couldn’t have been accomplished without the devotion of their own canine companions: Patton’s Bull Terrier Willie, and Ike’s Scottie Telek.
As historian Carlo D’Este has so wisely stated, “The weight of the world rested on their shoulders and the promise of their faithful dogs to always be loyal and love them unconditionally helped give each the courage to endure, even in their darkest hours. The world owes these ‘Dogs of War’ a considerable debt.”
In “Dogs of War,” published by WND Books, author Kathleen Kinsolving reveals the hidden history of some of America’s most powerful leaders. Amazingly, it exposes the unknown backroom drama of Western Civilization’s darkest hour through an unlikely source – the faithful pets of Roosevelt, Patton and Eisenhower.
In an interview with Politico.com, Kinsolving said:
“Problem is, presidential dogs today just ain’t what they used to be.
“We’re living in a very divisive time in our country, politically, and I just thought that, with World War II, the country was more unified. It was the greatest generation, and I just thought this would be a nice respite for people, that they could go back and enjoy some nostalgia.
“Fala is considered the most famous of all the presidential pets. He has a statue erected at the FDR Memorial!”
“Dogs of War” tells the stories of Fala, Roosevelt’s Scottish Terrier; Willie, Patton’s Bull Terrier; and Telek, Eisenhower’s Scottie. Incredibly, these three canines had a huge impact on world history through their constant companionship with their powerful masters.
Fala become a media sensation and was actually used to boost morale on the home front during World War II, even “serving” as an honorary private. He was portrayed in films, his name was used as a password by American soldiers, and he was even became the subject of political controversy between Republicans and Democrats.
Patton’s wartime comrade Willie was his constant companion during fierce fighting. He only survived his master because he fatefully was separated from his owner when Patton died in a tragic automobile accident after the war.
Finally there’s Telek, Eisenhower’s and Kay Summersby’s treasured Scottie. Scottie helped ignite the most famous love story of World War II, an affair that is still fiercely debated by historians. After the general’s death, Kay Summersby was allowed to keep the dog.
“Dogs of War” provides an intriguing look at one of the most fascinating episodes of World War II and is sure to add fuel to the continuing controversy about the relationship between the general and his wartime chauffeur.
“Dogs of War” is a touching story at the unconditional love between men and their pets as well as a fascinating glimpse of America’s most legendary political and military leaders.
Author Kathleen Kinsolving has been a lifetime supporter of a variety of canine organizations, which includes volunteering as a puppy socializer for Guide Dogs for the Blind, based in Marin County, Calif. She also teaches English and journalism at Centreville High School in Clifton, Va., and in 2010, penned her father’s biography, “Gadfly: The Life and Times of Les Kinsolving – White House Watchdog” for WND Books.
She will be appearing on CNN “Early Start” program on December 10 with host Zoraida Sambolin to talk about the presidential dogs. She is scheduled to appear at 6:50 a.m. Eastern.