Former first dog 'Buddy' will be missed

By ALEX CUKAN  |  Jan. 4, 2002 at 2:31 AM
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CHAPPAQUA, N.Y., Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Buddy, the dog of former President Bill Clinton and one of the most photographed animals in the world, will be missed.

"Buddy was a loyal companion and brought us much joy," the Clintons said in a joint statement. "He will truly be missed."

He will be missed, not just by the former first family. The 4-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever made friends easily, except with the Clinton's first pet, Socks, a black-and-white cat.

Buddy died after being hit by a car on Route 117, a busy road near the Clinton home in Chappaqua, N.Y. in what police describe as an accident. Neither the former president not Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton were at home Wednesday when the dog ran after a contractor's van that had left the Clintons' New York home, according to Bill Clinton's spokeswoman Julia Payne.

The energetic and playful dog was given to Clinton as a puppy in 1997. From the start the dog had a high profile. Bill Clinton announced that he would name the dog after his great-uncle Henry Oren "Buddy" Grisham who had died that year. Clinton's spokesman announced the neutering of Buddy in 1998 at a White House news conference.

The dog was often photographed pulling at the end of his leash as Clinton walked to and from his helicopter on the White House lawn.

Socks was already living in the White House at the time Buddy arrived but the first family had been confident the two animals would learn to get along.

They never did. White House photographers caught the moment, on Jan. 6, 1998, when man's best friend met with man's feline friend on the White House lawn. Clinton held Buddy on a leash but the first cat arched its back and hissed reminiscent of pictures of Halloween cats.

Despite encouragement by the first family the two pets never got along even after collaborating on a book edited by Sen. Clinton, entitled "Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids' Letters to the First Pets."

The White House is a big place and the two animals were given separate quarters so the two could avoid crossing paths. However, when the Clintons left the White House in 2001 they decided that the two feuding animals could not live under the same roof so Buddy was chosen to live in the Clintons' new home in New York and Socks went to live with the former president's secretary, Betty Curry, who lives in Washington.

Buddy's Chappaqua neighbors said they often saw Buddy and all liked the good-natured dog. He seemed to make friends with everyone except Socks.

Topics: Bill Clinton
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