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War!:  Fala


FDR had a lifelong affection for pets. His best-known was Fala, a Scottish terrier given to him by his distant cousin, Daisy Suckley, in 1940. During the war, Fala became Roosevelt's constant companion and the most famous dog in America. He appeared in newspapers, cartoons, books, and films.

Fala often accompanied FDR on trips and was present at key meetings, including the 1941 Atlantic Charter Conference. During the 1944 Presidential campaign, Republicans falsely claimed Fala had been left behind on an Alaskan island and that FDR had ordered a destroyer to retrieve him. Roosevelt disarmed his critics in a celebrated speech. Fala's frugal "Scotch soul was furious," he reported, at allegations that tax dollars were spent to rescue him.

After FDR's death, Fala lived with Eleanor Roosevelt. He died in 1952 and is buried by the sundial in the Rose Garden near the President and First Lady.

Fala and FDR spent so much time together that he was sometimes called "the informer." If you saw him, then it was likely the President was not far behind.

White House staffers enjoyed giving Fala treats. But when Fala started putting on too much weight the President issued orders that only he could feed him.

Fala met many dignitaries while accompanying FDR, including British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the Queen of the Netherlands, and Mexican President Manuel Camacho.

Fala was so popular that thousands of people wrote him letters - so many that the Library needed five document boxes to hold them all.

To learn more about artifacts related to Fala, such as the items shown above, visit our Digital Artifact Collection.
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