Buck Culver steals the limelight

The state’s “First Dog” made a public appearance late this morning.  First Lady Mari Culver; her children, John and Claire; and the family dog, Buck Culver, walked into the Animal Rescue League of Iowa shortly after 11 and the dog was swarmed with well-wishers.  The dog wasn’t shy about greeting people in the crowd either.  “He’s a hugger,” Mari Culver explained to people when the dog would put his paws on someone’s legs — or when he put his paws on Governor Chet Culver’s shoulders when the governor walked in the room.

The event at which the entire “first family” appeared?  It was a bill signing for legislation that establishes new regulations for dog kennels in Iowa and what better way to ‘illustrate” the story than to have your picture taken with a dog.  Buck is not quite a year old — “still a puppy” according Mrs. Culver.  The dog was a 2009 birthday gift from the Culver kids to their dad.  Buck decided to participate more fully in today’s event by putting his paws up on the table where the governor was seated to sign the bill into law.


Governor Culver is seated.  First Lady Mari Culver is seated, too, on the far right of the frame — almost entirely blocked in this picture by the photographer kneeling in front.  John Culver, a second grader, is standing next to his mother and his sister Claire, a third grader, is standing next to him.  The other child in the photograph — the one closest to the govenror — is the son of State Senator Matt McCoy.  Eight legislators are standing along the wall, behind Culver and crew.

Dogs can help politicians.  There was, of course, the infamous “Checkers” — the Nixon family pet who was the star of a significant speech in which Nixon said Checkers was the only gift he’d ever received from political donors.  Herbert Hoover had a trained guard dog named King Tut.  Millie, the pet dog of former First Lady Barbara Bush, “helped” Mrs. Bush write a book titled Millie’s Book:  as Dictated to Barbara Bush.

You may recall Buddy, the “first dog” of the Clinton White House who was often seen on a leash being held by the president as the first family walked to the helicopter to leave the White House during the months in which the nation was consumed by the Lewinsky scandal.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.