Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Terriermen of Mount Rushmore

Who is this Man? Who is this dog?

And what does any of it have to do with hunting and fishing?

Answer: That's Teddy Roosevelt, one of three honorary terriermen on Mount Rushmore (Who are the other two?)

The dog is Skip, a mutt terrier cross (or feist) owned by legendary bear hunter John Goff. Goff gave Teddy the dog after Skip charged a bear, much to Teddy's delight.

As I note in a previous post entitled Rat Terrier Origins:
In 1905 Goff was hired as a bear hunting guide by President Theodore Roosevelt. During the trip Roosevelt was enchanted by the boisterous bravery of a small black and tan terrier that joined the bear-hunting fray. The dog was named "Skip," and for the remainder of the trip he managed to find himself in Roosevelt's lap or on his saddle.

Goff gave the terrier to Roosevelt at the end of his stay, and Roosevelt brought the dog back to the White House where it found work chasing rats in the basement and served as progenitor of the breed we know today as the American Rat Terrier.

Skip died the year before Roosevelt left the White House and was buried on the back lawn. The dog was so loved, however, that when Roosevelt left he had the dog exhumed and the body reinterred at Sagamore Hill, the family's New York estate.

I give a more detailed accounting of Skip and another terrier called Jack, noting the differences between the two and showing pictures of them each at the White House, in a longer post on Teddie Roosevelt's Terriers. Links are also given in this post to contemporaneous Roosevelt correspondence which showed that Skip was Archie's dog just as Jack Was Kermit's.

The importance of Teddy Roosevelt in the history of American hunting and fishing is not due to his legendary prowess in the field, or the fact that that this man left the Presidency to go on a year-long hunting trip in Africa. No, the importance of Roosevelt is in the fact that he helped establish America's land ethic (one later strengthened by Aldo Leopold) and did it by simply drawing boundaries on a map in order to create 150 new national forest areas in 21 states, four national game preserves, 51 federal bird sanctuaries, and 18 national monuments. No other President, before or since, has done as much to protect the heart and soul of America as Teddy Roosevelt did. For the back story here, read the post entitled Shooting Out the Land.

So who are the other honorary terriermen on Mount Rushmore? Read about one of them here >> Feists: From Washington to Lincoln to Faulkner. Yes, here at Terrierman, we give a hat tip to Old Abe if for no other reason than he wrote a long poem about bear hunting with terriers.

The other honorary terrierman on Mount Rushmore, of course, is George Washington, who helped win a war and forge a nation by a small kindness to a dog and its owner. I write a bit about that in the post entitled America's Founding Terrier.

Bottom Line: All that is great and good about this nation is connected to hunting with terriers. Let us never forget that!



The Midland Agrarian said...

In your link to your own older post about Lincoln and Feists, you have a primitive painting of a bear hunt with Cur looking dogs. Do you know anything about the origin of the painting? May I ask where you found the image?
RL Grossman

PBurns said...

That picture has been on my hard drive for at least 7 or 8 years and I can no longer remembers the origin. Dogs "hunting" or fighting bears is a pretty common meme in painting, as bears are proxy for wilderderness and dogs for wilderness tamed. A similar picture is here >>

PBurns said...

Another here >

The Midland Agrarian said...

thanks, I did not know the art proxy symbolism. Made the assumption some wee to do 19th Century hunter like Wade Hampton had his bear pack depicted.