Two Families, Two Pets, Two Trips

Here’s one of many summaries of a despicable deed, an illustration of callousness and poor judgment, heartlessness and cruelty, by the GOP presidential frontrunner with a net worth of $220 million, Willard “Mitt” Romney. See Dogs Against Romney if you need more details. Watch this interview and you will see Romney still doesn’t get it, thinks what he did was no biggie, but he wouldn’t have done it if he had known he was breaking Massachusetts’ animal cruelty laws, and besides, it was a long time ago.

…you may not be familiar with the 1983 story where Romney crammed his five children, wife and luggage into the family station wagon for a 12-hour drive to the family cottage at Beach O’Pines from Boston to Ontario. The family dog, an Irish Setter named Seamus was placed in a dog carrier and fastened to the station wagon’s roof rack….

Now brace yourself for the ugly part of the story when one of Romney’s sons yells out the word ‘gross’ as he sees a brown watery discharge running down the back window. Poor Seamus’ bowels let loose from the extreme distress of being on top of the car roof.

So what did our potential presidential candidate do? Romney pulled into a service station, hosed down Seamus, the cage and the car, and then put Seamus back on top of the car in his crate and continued on with the journey to Ontario.

Romney’s excuse for putting Seamus on the roof was that with five kids and all their stuff, there just wasn’t room in their station wagon for the dog.

I know a little something about road trips with animals.

In 1970, my mother, father, two brothers, and I loaded into a station wagon along with a toy fox terrier and a Siamese cat and made the 2,148-mile trip to Laramie, Wyoming. It took a lot more than 12 hours, I assure you. And since we were going for 8 weeks, we too had a lot of stuff, even though we were renting a furnished house. On the way back, we rescued a kitten from a motel keeper; the mother cat had been run over. So we were traveling home with 3 kids, a dog, a cat, a kitten, and two adults.  All sentient beings shared the same pleasures and discomforts.

The next year, the only four-legged family member was Tobias, the Siamese cat, who joined the five humans in the station wagon for the 3,086-mile journey (that’s 6,172 roundtrip) to Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. This time we were renting an unfurnished trailer for two months, so even more stuff was involved — pots, pans, linens, towels, etc. The stuff went on the top of the car. The howling (and occasionally vomiting) Siamese went inside the car. That was a long time ago, too.

Summer, 1971: the author and Tobias. I believe this was taken in the Mojave desert, when we all got out to stretch our legs and let the engine cool down. If you look closely, you can see Tobias is wearing his harness.

Why did we make such onerous journeys? My father was not a $220 million mouth. He was a public school teacher, and in the sixties and early seventies the Federal government supported science education by providing institutes for high school science teachers. The teachers received a stipend, probably about what they would have earned teaching summer school. Travel and housing expenses were not included, so as a family we would have done better financially staying home. But education — for all of us (imagine being 12, living on the Stanford campus in 1971) — mattered more than money.

I’m sure the Romney boys learned a lot on their lakeside vacations at the family “cottage.” I just hope none of them has a dog or cat.



4 thoughts on “Two Families, Two Pets, Two Trips

  1. Queen Medb 89: Here’s an update on just how outrageous his behavior is. During the Florida Primary, the Dogs Against Romney group brought attention to themselves by strapping empty dog crates to the tops of cars — and were pulled over by the Highway Patrol on suspicion of cruelty to animals. He thinks all the controversy is a PETA conspiracy, naturally.

  2. Romney has a robotic personality, not surprising he wouldn’t “get” what was odd/cruel about tying an animal to the roof of a car. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an animal crate hooked to the roof of a car, ever, so that illustrates just how weird of an action it was.

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