Why Romney's 'dog on car roof' story makes him unfit to be president

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-18-2000
Why Romney's 'dog on car roof' story makes him unfit to be president
Mon, 01-16-2012 - 1:49pm

Maybe he couldn't afford to leave the the dog at a kennel.

Even when I have workers in or around my house I take my dogs to doggy daycare.


It might be unseemly to bring this up just as Mitt Romney celebrates his win in New Hampshire on Tuesday night and seems to be a strong front-runner for the GOP nomination. But the story of his putting his dog in a carrier on his car roof for a 12-hour family trip is spreading again on the Internet and disturbs me the more I learn about it.

And I am betting the more it gets out, the more votes Romney loses — red, blue and purple.

When, in a campaign debate, Romney opposed allowing a non-documented worker who has lived here for 25 years to stay and earn his way to citizenship, he struck me as heartless.

But when I read the story recently in greater detail about what Romney did to his Irish Setter, Seamus, that struck me as more than heartless — it struck me as downright cruel.

In brief, as the Boston Globe first reported in 2007, in 1983, Mitt Romney, then 36 years old, drove his station wagon packed with five sons and his wife on a 12-hour trip from Boston to Ontario, where his parents had a cottage on Lake Huron.

He took a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon’s roof rack, built a special windshield, and put his dog Seamus into the carrier, where the dog remained for the 12-hour trip.

Was the dog distressed? Was it illegal under Massachusetts law as cruelty? There is some evidence that both are true.

During the trip, the Boston Globe reported, Romney’s oldest son, Tagg, looked around through the rear window and yelled, “Dad — gross!” A brown liquid was dripping down the back window — diarrhea from an animal that just might have been caused by the stress of being inside a cage for 12 hours on top of a car going 60 mph.

And what did Romney do, even after knowing of the dog's diarrhea? Did he realize that perhaps Seamus should be shown some mercy, cleaned up and allowed in the car, to sleep on someone’s lap?


Here’s how the Globe described what Romney then did:

“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.”

Emotion-free crisis management??!

I love animals, especially dogs. I don’t like people who are cruel to animals. I am told it is illegal in Massachusetts to put an animal on a car roof while driving. Had I been the local sheriff, I would have arrested him.

But I am a forgiving person. If today Romney, looking back, were to say, “You know, in retrospect, that was a cruel thing to do to our dog — I was young, it was a long time ago, I am sorry” — if he said that today, I’d forgive him.

But instead — Romney being Romney — he defaults into saying something utterly implausible. He recently told Fox's dog-loving Chris Wallace that Seamus actually loved it up there!

He then told Wallace that the dog was in an "air-tight container," not mentioning the diarrhea.

Air-tight container??!

This is the ultimate Purple Issue — it cuts across Republicans, Democrats, blue states, red states, liberals and conservatives.

There are more than 78 million Americans who own one or more dogs — about two out of every five households. A Google search of "Romney Dog on Car Roof" brought me 1,080,000 results.

I don’t know how many of these 78 million dog owners (and thus, dog lovers) have yet heard or read about Romney doing this horrible thing, much less making his disingenuous claim that Seamus loved the experience on top of a speeding car for 12 hours, while his bowels turned to water.

But I’m thinking if this story gets out and stays out, there will be tens of millions of Google hits by next October. And I am also thinking that Romney is going to lose a lot of dog-lover votes on this issue alone, regardless of party or ideology.

Here’s one dog lover’s opinion — mine:

I think anyone who puts his dog in a cage on top of a car for a 12-hour drive and then deludes himself or tries to delude others that the dog really enjoyed it — to me, with all due respect, I feel such a man shouldn’t be president of the United States.



iVillage Member
Registered: 05-03-2011

<>But what I can say is that I made a commitment to change the trajectory of American foreign policy in a way that would end the war in Iraq, refocus on defeating our primary enemy, al-Qaeda, strengthen our alliances and our leadership in multilateral fora and restore American leadership in the world. And I think we have accomplished those principal goals.>>
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2002

Lets say I have a friend. Lets say my friend has a dog and a convertible. Lets say she takes a 12 hour trip with dog and roof down. Is this animal abuse?

Seriously? You're equating having a dog in a convertible to putting one in a carrier & strapping it to the top of a car???? Can you not imagine how terrified that poor dog was??


Avatar for cmkarla
Registered: 01-03-2001

Wow! I once had to ride through the entire state of Alabama (length wise) with a sick cat on my lap (don't ask-it as awful) so I can't imagine doing something so inhumane.

Community ModeratoriVillage.com

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-30-2002

When I took my dog in my convertable she could lay down in the seat or get in the floor. She also would lay her head in my lap for most of the trip, getting up occassionally to look out. Not even close to being strapped on a roof then hosed down and off again.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2011

Lets say I have a friend. Lets say my friend has a dog and a convertible. Lets say she takes a 12 hour trip with dog and roof down. Is this animal abuse? Is my friend abusing herself? If the ride is down Big Sur is that different than with kids to Canada? If the dog pooped and kids were in the car, is it kid abuse, animal abuse? If you hate Mitt, it's a story to help affirm your beliefs.

Can you help me find one reference when Obama refers to those killing Americans as the enemy? You see the only time I've heard Obama call anyone an enemy was in reference to Republicans. This is a reason I'm having trouble with him. Though I may have a similar anti-Obama predisposition to match those who have anti-Romney predispositions.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-18-2000
Excellent post!



iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2011

*blush* Thank you!

I've been barfed on by cats, I've had dogs ride with their head in my lap as I drove, head on my shoulder from the back seat, and our Newfie claim the whole back seat of the pickup. They were all part of our family, and they damn well were treated as such. Now I don't question Mitt's love of his dog, but as with children, there are certain things you just cannot do for need of expedience. If there is no room in the car for one child, what do you do? Leave them home? Strap 'em on the roof? For heaven's sake, if the dog was to be crated, the first thing to do is make sure there is room for the crate, and if you have to leave something behind, leave the trunk full of caviar. ;-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-30-2002

Obama staffer tweets how to transport a dog.


President Obama’s senior campaign strategist took a not-so-veiled swipe at Mitt Romney via Twitter Monday.

David Axelrod tweeted a photo of the president in the backseat of a vehicle, peering out the window alongside First Dog, Bo. The caption accompanying the photo was, “How loving owners transport their dogs.”

ht president barack obama dog bo ll 120130 wblog Bark for Barack?   Senior Obama Campaign Staffer Tweets Subtle Attack on Romney

(Image Credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This unsolicited advice is likely in reference to the infamous story about a family trip first reported by the Boston Globe that more than 25 y ears ago, Romney transported his family dog in a much different way.

During the former Massachusetts governor’s 2008 run for the presidency, it came out that many years before he transported the Romney clan from Boston to Ontario, Canada with the family dog in a carrier tied to the roof.

Coincidentally, the Obama campaign launched a Facebook page called “Pet Lovers for Obama” on the same day as the tweet. The community page features a magnet with Bo’s photo saying, “I bark for Barack.” It invites supporters to submit photos of their pets in Obama 2012 gear.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2011


Dogs know!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-18-2000
Love it! :)