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George Bush Sr. once asked White House staff to take 'pledge' vowing to not feed his 'fat' dog biscuits

The letter was sent out on February 6, 1992, and resurfaced in honor of International Dog Day.

George Bush Sr. once asked White House staff to take 'pledge' vowing to not feed his 'fat' dog biscuits
Cover Image Source: (R) Portrait of the forty-first president of the United States George Bush, circa 1989. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images); (L) Twitter /Letters of Note

Editor's note: This article was originally published on February 17, 2023. It has since been updated.

Former President George H.W. Bush wrote a letter to White House staff, kindly advising them not to feed his overweight dog, Ranger. The letter was sent out on February 6, 1992, and resurfaced again in honor of International Dog Day. In the letter, the late President asked all offices to take a "formal pledge" that read as follows: "WE AGREE NOT TO FEED RANGER." WE WILL NOT GIVE HIM ANY BISCUITS. "WE WILL NOT GIVE HIM FOOD OF ANY KIND." In addition, the chubby presidential pooch will also be wearing a "Do not feed me" badge along with his regular ID to remind the staff not to feed him any food.



 

 

The letter adds that Ranger is not to "wander the corridors," but he has free reign through the woods at Camp David. He also asked the people to "rat" on anyone seen feeding Ranger. The letter also stated that he would report on Ranger's "fight against obesity," referring to him as "a blimp, a nice friendly appealing blimp, but a blimp" at the time. Moreover, Ranger will enter the Houston Fat Stock Show as a "Prime Hereford" if the weight loss journey is unsuccessful. In a later letter, Bush speaks of Ranger’s death. He writes: "I cried for two days." I cried because I loved him and knew I’d miss him, for he had made me the happiest dog owner in the whole world. "I know that when you are an old guy, you aren’t supposed to cry, but I did."



 

 

According to the presidential pet museum, Ranger was the favorite puppy of George H.W. Bush. During the press conference, Ranger was mistaken for Millie, an English springer spaniel. "The other day our dog Ranger appeared at a press conference, and he was called Millie [by reporters]. "He's a strong male dog here, as you can see, and his feelings were slightly hurt," said President Bush. Ranger, a brown and white English springer spaniel, was the only male puppy named after the Texas Rangers baseball team. According to First Lady Barbara Bush, Ranger and President Bush had such a close bond that they would shower together at least once a day.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - APRIL 15: Former U.S. President George H. Bush (R) and SK Group Chairman Son Kil-Seung April 15, 2003 in Seoul, South Korea. Former U.S. President Bush arrived on Monday at the invitation of South Korean business leaders and will meet with President Roh Moo-Hyun. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - APRIL 15: Former U.S. President George H. Bush (R) and SK Group Chairman Son Kil-Seung April 15, 2003, in Seoul, South Korea. Former U.S. President Bush arrived on Monday at the invitation of South Korean business leaders and will meet with President Roh Moo-Hyun. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)

 

At Camp David, Ranger had fond memories of following his mom Millie around by the President’s side. Barbara Bush described Ranger as a "big bouncy puppy" who loved to curl up by George's side and was everything George wanted in a dog. Ranger was constantly given treats because he was so loved by everyone in the White House. Mrs. Bush recalled: “Ranger made so many friends that we suddenly noticed that he was growing by leaps and bounds  — out, not up — and George had to send out a memo requesting people not feed Ranger.” The boisterous pooch was also said to have “terrorized the squirrels” at the White House.

372407 01 :BUSH RETROSPECTIVE: Portrait of the Bush family in front of their Kennebunkport, Maine August 24, 1986. BACK ROW: Margaret holding daughter Marshall, Marvin Bush, Bill LeBlond. FRONT ROW: Neil Bush holding son Pierce, Sharon, George W. Bush holding daughter Barbara, Laura Bush holding daughter Jenna, Barbara Bush, George Bush, Sam LeBlond, Doro Bush Lebond, George P.(jeb's son), Jeb Bush holding son Jebby, Columba Bush, and Noelle Bush. (Photo by Newsmakers
372407 01: BUSH RETROSPECTIVE: Portrait of the Bush family in front of their Kennebunkport, Maine August 24, 1986. BACK ROW: Margaret holding daughter Marshall, Marvin Bush, Bill LeBlond. FRONT ROW: Neil Bush holding son Pierce, Sharon, George W. Bush holding daughter Barbara, Laura Bush holding daughter Jenna, Barbara Bush, George Bush, Sam LeBlond, Doro Bush Lebond, George P.(Jeb's son), Jeb Bush holding son Jebby, Columba Bush, and Noelle Bush. (Photo by Newsmakers

 

Bush once said: “One day when we were in the Oval Office, and we were having a big, serious meeting about some big, serious problem…. I look up, and there’s Ranger, our dog — the squirrel’s tail coming out of one side of this mouth, his head out of the other side.” He joked saying: “[President Ronald] Reagan used to feed the squirrels, and our dogs ate them!” After the Bush family left the White House, Ranger went on early morning walks in Houston with the former president. Sadly, Ranger was put to sleep at only 4 years old, after discovering that he had cancer in 1994. “The pleasure George got from his dog Ranger taking flying leaps over imaginary logs cannot be described…. We have always lived in happy houses, but nothing matched this special place,” recalled Barbara Bush.

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