The Strange Attempt to Cover Up What Happened to a Governor’s Dog

Florida Governor Rick Scott apparently used some poor Lab for publicity purposes during his 2010 campaign, indicating his family had rescued the dog and inviting supporters to submit name suggestions.  The governor then quietly took the dog, dubbed “Reagan” by Facebook friends, back to the grooming and boarding facility he’d gotten him from shortly after moving to Tallahassee.

When reporters asked recently what happened to Reagan, the governor’s staff tried to dodge and weave for as long as they could manage but eventually the governor admitted returning the dog for barking at people.  Governor Scott explained, “He was a rescue dog [...] and so he wouldn’t get better.”

Way to pump up the “rescue dogs are damaged” myth, governor.

Reagan’s current status is unknown.

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20 Comments

  1. Marie-Odile Fortier

     /  January 15, 2013

    I really hate to defend Rick Scott in any way, but it does not seem like he meant that Reagan would not get better because he was a rescue dog. The Scotts got another rescue dog, Tallee, who, from their description, sounds like a better fit for their family. Ideally, they should have trained Reagan and worked with him to keep him as a furry family member, but at least it doesn’t seem like they dumped Reagan at a kill shelter. It says the dog is back with his previous owner. Of course, this is all according to Rick Scott and his spokespeople, and their side of the story may not be entirely truthful.

    Reply
    • I interpreted the statements in the article differently than you.

      Reply
      • Karen

         /  January 15, 2013

        As did I. What Scott should have said was that Reagan was a rescue dog who would not get better in such ignorant and incompetent hands. Very telling that Scott chose to abandon the dog so quickly and easily.

  2. Has anyone contacted this place mentioned at the bottom of the article?
    “After learning that Times reporters had talked to the governor, a spokeswoman called to say Reagan had been returned about a year ago to All Pets Grooming and Boarding, a business in Naples”.

    Reply
  3. Dr Betty Schueler

     /  January 15, 2013

    The guys a govenor and he couldn’t afford to call Cesar Millan for help training the dog? Sounds fishy to me.

    Reply
  4. I am operating on the assumption that the family took reasonable measures to help the dog before deciding to return him. I have no information on that, I’m just giving the benefit of the doubt. But I do not like the attempted cover-up. That makes me suspicious. And I would like to know where the dog is now, since I am already suspicious.

    Reply
  5. mikken

     /  January 15, 2013

    “He was a rescue dog,” Scott said, “and he couldn’t be around anybody that was carrying anything, and so he wouldn’t get better.”

    I had a dog like that – he freaked out when I once carried a radio into the room. You know what I did? I took it slowly step by step, rewarding and praising him until he learned that the radio was not a bad thing, it was not scary, and there was nothing to worry about. After that, I could carry the radio anywhere around him and he was cool.

    We had to do that with many objects, but that’s ok. That’s what you do when your dog’s well-being is a priority in your life.

    Now maybe the Gov wasn’t up for that, ok. Maybe he didn’t think to hire a trainer to help him out, ok. But those failings aren’t the dog’s fault (rescue or no) and he should recognize that. Alas, politicians are not that great at admitting their own faults. Maybe someone can hire a trainer to work with him on that.

    Reply
    • db

       /  January 15, 2013

      : )

      Reply
    • Trouble

       /  January 16, 2013

      I think by mentioning “rescue dog” he was alluding to the fact that they didn’t know the dogs past and it appears he may have been a used. The part about couldn’t be fixed is obviously not true but maybe he couldn’t be helped in the environment he was in.

      He couldn’t be around anyone carrying anything. That may of been near impossible to prevent or control in certain homes/environments. If the dog was constantly faced with people carrying objects he would of been anxious and stressed. Even Cesar sometimes needs to remove dogs from the home to better work with them. This dogs best chance at getting better may of been in a different home.

      Any public figure has all information carefully controlled. They may have dodged questions because they had not been briefed on what info they were allowed to share. Since the dog had left the home this would be a touchy subject. Do they say where he went? What if the rescue is then flooded with cameras and phone calls? If they get something wrong and then have to retract it that looks even worse.

      At least they realized there was an issue and instead of locking him up outside or in a crate took him somewhere he would get help and a better home. They also opened up their home to another dog so it’s not like they adopted only for show and ditched it as soon as no one was looking.

      Reply
      • The normal thing to do, if the dog they adopted proved to have problems that they did not feel able to work with, would be to be ready to say that if asked. The way they really responded suggests they thought the same public that helped name Reagan, and the Florida media that covered the campaign and his administration, would never notice that Reagan had disappeared, and been replaced by another dog. That’s what makes the whole thing suspicious.

      • This was my reaction as well.

  6. Joel

     /  January 15, 2013

    Would be nice if we could make politicians disappear so easily.

    Reply
  7. What??? Ugh.. I’m really ashamed that he represents my state. Shelter animals are the ones that need the love and care. How disappointing that those words would come from an elected official. If someone said that about a child in the state’s care people would be up in arms.

    Reply
  8. KateH

     /  January 16, 2013

    He doesn’t seem happy with the new rescue dog, either. In another article I read, he said that dog has issues as well, not doing well away from people and always wanting to be underfoot (it tries to get underneath him when he’s doing pushups). It seems that Rick Scott doesn’t have enough common sense to look at how his family life is run and, more importantly, that he and his family and staff aren’t willing to change how it runs, to make 1) a good choice of a dog in the first place, and 2) help it become a stable, happy companion.

    I hope his children get more time and effort from him, but I’m not holding my breath.

    Reply
  9. Anyone happen to see how much Reagan looked like the dog recently killed in Hillsborougj??
    The look in the eyes- everything..just saying

    Reply
  10. Update with more details here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/21/3193445/gov-rick-scotts-ex-dog-reagan.html

    Reagan apparently bit someone at the governor’s mansion shortly after he moved in. The bite was minor and did not require medical attention. The dog was then returned to the grooming facility from whence he came and the strange coverup ensued. There is an unconfirmed report the dog is still alive.

    Reply
    • mikken

       /  January 22, 2013

      All sorts of spin going on, bite, no bite, frightened a guy, didn’t frighten a guy…I think the PR people did more damage trying to cover up whatever went on than they would have just saying that the dog ended up not being a good fit for their home…

      Reply
      • I wonder if telling the truth comes up very often at politicians’ PR spin sessions.

        On Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 12:01 PM, YesBiscuit!

      • mikken

         /  January 22, 2013

        Historical evidence says no.

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