Fala was an early Christmas gift to Franklin D. Roosevelt from his favorite cousin, Margaret Suckley, and proved to be the perfect political animal. He shook people’s hands instead of taking a bite out of them and refused to do his business in inappropriate places, unlike so many other dogs that the Roosevelts had. One had even taken a bit of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill on a visit to the White House.
Roosevelt loved Fala so much that he tried as much as possible as part of his routine to feed his dog personally every day. Fala as Roosevelt’s constant companion drove the Secret Service crazy. The agents worried that the terrier’s presence drew too much attention to the president. Fala even slept in Franklin Roosevelt’s room at night.
Fala also traveled with the president to his home in Warm Springs, Georgia. Fala often accompanied Roosevelt to important events; he traveled on the Sacred Cow, the president’s airplane, and the Ferdinand Magellan, Roosevelt’s custom-made train car, as well as by ship. Sometimes Fala would accompany his master on his train rides to Grand Central from the White House. Fala roams Washington Square Park in search of the thirty-second president of the United States.
Fala and Eleanor Roosevelt did not have the same relationship. She declared that the dog just barely tolerated her but adored his master. Fala knew Washington Square Park well. She had a home at 31 Washington Square West for several years after World War II where she used to walk him. You may encounter him at the dog walk in the park.