George Covington — Sorry Tail

Circa 2007

During the reign of George Bush the First, I worked as a White House staffer. I reported directly to the vice president, serving as the first and last special assistant for disability policy from 1989 to 1993.

Now that the statute of limitations on my silence has run out, I can safely disclose certain well-kept, White House secrets, formerly known by only the most insider of the insiders. No longer being part of the Washington scene, I feel that it is time for the truth to be told: Millie was a bitch. That mutt was one of God’s ugliest creations. It was so ugly that only a kindly soul like George Bush would shower with it. As a White House employee, I was prepared to believe all those long, glowing articles on this sweet, wonderful and beloved first pet of the land. But after 20 years in Washington, I can assure you that you can’t believe the media!

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Thinking back, I’m reminded of a day when I went to get a cup of coffee in the cafeteria of the old executive office building, and ran across this waddling, toddling, power pup. To begin with, this animal’s legs were too short, probably because the hound was too fat and its legs had actually compressed. Its head was too big, its ears were too long and it had a stupid expression, which probably hid a brain the size of a gnat. I leaned over to let the dog sniff my hand, so it would know I was a friend. Millie sniffed, snorted, turned and waddled off. I had to control the impulse to shout: “If I ever decide to get a seeing-eye dog, don’t bother to audition!”

I was willing to accept this as a chance first encounter. Maybe Millie simply didn’t warm up to strangers very easily. But in the back of my mind I wondered: Does this mutt treat the secretary of state with such disdain? What about the other cabinet members, the press secretary or my boss, the vice president?

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Several months later, I was coming from a Rose Garden event as Mrs. Bush was leaving the White House to walk Millie. I decided to give the beast another chance. This time I had my camera with me to document the event. I said, “Here, Millie, Millie, Millie,” in my most condescending, patronizing and loving tone. Again the beast waddled over. She sniffed my shoe, snorted again, turned abruptly and waddled off toward the bushes to do her deeds. I felt like screaming, “What did you expect, Gucci?” I had been snubbed. In hindsight, I realize this cretin was simply hung up on her own publicity. But I’ve checked into those stories about Millie writing books. I now have it on good authority that those books were actually ghost written by one of the Secret Service bomb-sniffing dogs.

Looking over the chasm of time, I now wonder, did Millie’s snub result from her smelling the fact that I had been a registered Democrat for 20 years, and had served on the staff of Jim Wright, Democratic Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, less than a year before?

I’ll never know, because recently a journalist friend told me that Millie had died. My reply: “ I have an alibi!”

by George Covington

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