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Thursday, February 8, 2018

BIRTH | Feb 9–Hilda van Stockum (110 in 2018)

Hilda (73) and Spike (70) in
1971.
February 9, 2018–Hilda van Stockum was born 110 years ago.

She died in 2006, at 98.

Her obituary was in The New York Times and many other newspapers

Her family still misses her.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

DOGS | What Trump Doesn't Get (+Video of Pres&1stDog)

Hilda van Stockum's book about a girl who finds
a dog and takes it home. Not for the faint-hearted.
January 9, 2018 – There's an Op-Ed piece in today's New York Times by Jennifer Weiner saying that Donald Trump doesn't understand dogs. 

(For video of the President and First Dog, belonging to a neighbor, see Comment below.)

He is the first President since Thomas Jefferson (who did not, apparently, lack for human companionship when he wanted it) not to have had a pet. 

Ms. Weiner argues, pretty effectively, that Trump doesn't understand dogs because his recorded references to them are all pejorative.

Trump's attitude sounds like that of W. C. Fields, born William Claude Dukenfield: "Any man who hates dogs and babies can't be all bad." But Leo Rosten claims that quote was actually first made as his comment about W.C. Fields during a 1939 roast at the Masquer's Club in Hollywood in 1939 (Rosten in The Power of Positive Nonsense, 1977).

Ms. Weiner might have used the comment attributed to President Harry S. Truman: “If you want a friend in Washington, buy a dog.” But she probably didn't because upon examination this quote is also misattributed, though it is a line in the 1975 play Give 'Em Hell Harry. The Truman Library questions whether Truman ever said it – Harry and Bess actually gave away two dogs that they received as gifts. According to a post by Barry Popik, the quote was used back on November 19, 1911 in a classified ad on the second page of the Philadelphia Inquirer: "If you want a friend, buy a dog." The United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co. used this as its slogan.

William Safire, in Safire’s Political Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 2008 ), remembers (p. 635) former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld adding to Truman's alleged dictum: “Better make it a small dog, because it may turn on you also.” 

My late friend Seton Shanley, who bred dogs in East Hampton, had a bumper sticker that said: "The more people I meet, the more I like my dogs."

My mother loved dogs and it was a family tug-of-war because my father did not. Eventually after the sixth child arrived he approved of our getting a dog in Montreal. Trusty was the center of our lives for several years, until we left for Europe in 1951 and had to leave her  behind with a friend.

Dogs are featured in many of my Mom's books, but especially Patsy and the Pup, which our dog Hachikō enjoyed reading. Another of her books focused on a dog was Rufus Round and Round, which is a fictionalized story of a dog I once had. She uses the true story of the roundup by the Nazis of Dutch pet dogs for army use to show the heartlessness of the occupiers of World War II Holland, in her most widely read book, The Winged Watchman. Dogs are everywhere in her paintings and illustrations.

President Trump should get a dog, but given his attitude toward dogs, I'm not sure the rescue agencies should let him have one.