Mitt Romney and the Shaggy Dog Strapped on the Roof of His Car

June 27, 2007 at 6:58 pm | Posted in American politics, Mit Romney, Mitt Romney | 14 Comments

Wow, well apparently long ago Mitt Romney had the following to share:

Before beginning the drive, Mitt Romney put Seamus, the family’s hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon’s roof rack. He’d built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.


As the oldest son, Tagg Romney commandeered the way-back of the wagon, keeping his eyes fixed out the rear window, where he glimpsed the first sign of trouble. ”Dad!” he yelled. ”Gross!” A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who’d been riding on the roof in the wind for hours.

As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management.

Huh, emotion-free crisis management. Strapping the car on the roof? As Anne Marie Cox says:

In all seriousness, because it bears repeating, the truly out-of-the-box solution he hit upon here is strapping his dog to the roof of his car. Who else thought this little story would end with the dog not crapping itself but, you know, dead? Also, if this really is some kind of trademark approach, I can’t wait to hear what he thinks the “roadmap to peace” means. Israel calls shotgun!


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  1. I actually don’t see the big problem with having the dog on the roof if he had a windshield. It’s not any different than having a dog in the back of a pickup truck or in the sidecar of a motorcycle.
    Hell, I’d ride on the roof or in the back of a pickup if I had a windshield and a safety belt.

  2. Go Wonkette!!!

    Seriously though, I do agree with Michael. Its not that much different than putting the dog in a back of a truck or on the back of a four wheeler. In fact, its probably safer.

    However, dogs don’t usually poop in their kennel unless they have a medical condition or are scared stiff.

    We have a dog who has jumped out of my dads Dodge which was going 65 down the highway 10 miles from town and somehow made it back to the house late that night(they looked everywhere for him after they realized what he had done) ..the same dog was in my bro’s truck and a few miles down the road…they all of a sudden saw his foot on the windshield–he had gotten on top of the 4 wheeler (which he loves) then on top of the cab, and kept slipping. Needless to say, they were all freaked out. And yes, when my dad takes this dog on extended trips…he rides in his portable dog carrier in the back of a truck.

  3. Romney is Mr. Efficiency? Well, he’s just a cruel, selfish man. That poor pup.

  4. Michael,

    This isn’t that big of a deal except that this happens to be illegal in the state of Massachusetts.

  5. Was it illegal in 1983? Do we care anymore? If I run for president, are they going to dig up how I launched lizards a mile up into the air in model rockets when I was 12? He built a windshield!!! Who cares for their dog that much?!

  6. Blake,

    This wasn’t dug up by some secretive investigator. This is something the Romney’s willingly told in a piece in the Boston Globe about their father. I really do think they didn’t realize it was illegal.


    The reporter intended the anecdote that opened part four of the Boston Globe’s profile of Mitt Romney to illustrate, as the story said, “emotion-free crisis management”: Father deals with minor — but gross — incident during a 1983 family vacation, and saves the day. But the details of the event are more than unseemly — they may, in fact, be illegal.

    The incident: dog excrement found on the roof and windows of the Romney station wagon. How it got there: Romney strapped a dog carrier — with the family dog Seamus, an Irish Setter, in it — to the roof of the family station wagon for a twelve hour drive from Boston to Ontario, which the family apparently completed, despite Seamus’s rather visceral protest.

    Massachusetts’s animal cruelty laws specifically prohibit anyone from carrying an animal “in or upon a vehicle, or otherwise, in an unnecessarily cruel or inhuman manner or in a way and manner which might endanger the animal carried thereon.” An officer for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals responded to a description of the situation saying “it’s definitely something I’d want to check out.” The officer, Nadia Branca, declined to give a definitive opinion on whether Romney broke the law but did note that it’s against state law to have a dog in an open bed of a pick-up truck, and “if the dog was being carried in a way that endangers it, that would be illegal.” And while it appears that the statute of limitations has probably passed, Stacey Wolf, attorney and legislative director for the ASPCA, said “even if it turns out to not be against the law at the time, in the district, we’d hope that people would use common sense…Any manner of transporting a dog that places the animal in serious danger is something that we’d think is inappropriate…I can’t speak to the accuracy of the case, but it raises concerns about the judgment used in this particular situation.”

    Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, was less circumspect. PETA does not have a position on Romney’s candidacy per se, but Newkirk called the incident “a lesson in cruelty that was … wrong for [his children] to witness…Thinking of the wind, the weather, the speed, the vulnerability, the isolation on the roof, it is commonsense that any dog who’s under extreme stress might show that stress by losing control of his bowels: that alone should have been sufficient indication that the dog was, basically, being tortured.” Romney, of course, has expressed support for the use of “enhanced interrogation” techniques when it comes to terrorists; his campaign refused to comment about the treatment of his dog.

    As organizer of the Salt Lake City Olympic Games, Romney came under fire from some animal welfare groups for including a rodeo exhibition as part of the Games’ festivities. At the time, he told protesters, “We are working hard to make this as safe a rodeo for cowboys and animals as is humanly possible.”

  8. Whether or not it was illegal, it seems clear the family didn’t know that and it certainly doesn’t sound cruel to the dog.

    That aside, I certainly wouldn’t want to see a Romney presidency. I think increased military spending and more aggressive foreign policy are the last things we need.

  9. This story inspired a Mitt/dog-related video:

  10. “Romney is Mr. Efficiency? Well, he’s just a cruel, selfish man. That poor pup.”

    Have you ever seen a dog riding in the back seat of a car with an open window? What’s the first thing he does? HE STICKS HIS HEAD OUT THE WINDOW WHILE GOING 70 MPH!!! I don’t think him being on the roof was much different. This is why I can’t stand animal rights activists!

  11. This is off the subject, but I just want to thank whoever designed this webpage. Mainly because on the side bars under “church”, they put links to the actual web-pages made by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and not some other site where someone who doesn’t know a thing about our church tries to “expound” our doctrine. I would invite anyone who hasn’t already done so to please visit those sites to understand what we “Mormons” as we have become know, truly believe. I think it might surprise you in a good way.

  12. Andrew,

    That would be me who designed the page…er at least who set up the blogroll on the right. The theme is “Ocean Mist” designed by Ed Merritt.

  13. I think it would only be fair to strap the romney family to a rooftop for 12 hrs at 70 mph and see if they see what the concerns are,and no bathroom breaks,……go figure

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