RIP: Barney Bush, Age 12

The passing of a loved one prompts the first public release of the 43rd President's artwork

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George W. Bush painting
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A painting of Barney Bush by President George W. Bush

Since leaving the White House, George W. Bush has adopted a remarkably low profile, foregoing the political scene to spend his days at home in Dallas. During his downtime, Bush has picked up painting as a hobby. In particular, New York magazine reported, Bush likes to paint dogs.

Unfortunately, the first public unveiling of the 43rd President’s handiwork was prompted Friday by sad news: the death of Barney, Bush’s Scottish terrier. Barney was 12. Bush released this statement in remembrance:

Laura and I are sad to announce that our Scottish Terrier, Barney, has passed away.  The little fellow had been suffering from lymphoma and after twelve and a half years of life, his body could not fight off the illness.

Barney and I enjoyed the outdoors.  He loved to accompany me when I fished for bass at the ranch.  He was a fierce armadillo hunter.  At Camp David, his favorite activity was chasing golf balls on the chipping green.

Barney guarded the South Lawn entrance of the White House as if he were a Secret Service agent.  He wandered the halls of the West Wing looking for treats from his many friends.  He starred in Barney Cam and gave the American people Christmas tours of the White House. Barney greeted Queens, Heads of State, and Prime Ministers.  He was always polite and never jumped in their laps.

Barney was by my side during our eight years in the White House.  He never discussed politics and was always a faithful friend.  Laura and I will miss our pal.

Barney did bite a reporter back in 2008, though Bush White House alums might tell you that attests to his judgment. As for the President, he inscribed his oil painting with a one-of-a-kind signature: “43.”

25 comments
Denesius
Denesius

Really? An article about the death of an ex-president's dog? Is the news that slow, or is this the level of intellectual stimulation this audience craves? I hear Chelsea's pet frog 'Ribbit' died in 2006. Hey Mr Altman, let's read a couple of paragraphs on that topic.  And to presage the trolls: No, I didn't read this article; I selected it because I didn't know which of the Bush's was 'Barney'.

DavidLevinsn
DavidLevinsn

I'm sure you would have done a better job.  Really.  I think you would be a great President, Len.  In fact, Maybe Obama will appoint you to be the Undersecretary for Comment Trolling.

LenSimpson
LenSimpson

Apparently he is a better painter than president.

Sue_N
Sue_N

Condolences to the Bushes. Losing a beloved pet is always hard. These critters worm their way into our hearts and lives and become true members of the family. And they ask for so little in return. Nor do they judge us (except for cats. Cats judge all. the. time). But no matter how crappy your day has been, no matter how crappy you feel, your dog is always glad to see you, and you know you've made his day infinitely better just by showing up.

RIP, Barney.

PerryWhite1
PerryWhite1

For many Americans, the death of a beloved pet is the same as the loss of a close family member. I offer my condolences to the Bush family in this time of grief.

Singedrac
Singedrac

Ttoo bad about the dog. and also the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis and Afghanis that Bush is responsible for.

fblancof
fblancof

Very beautiful painting! He is really a master. Most sorry to hear the death of Barney, lovely enchanting doggy.

JenniferBottsJumalon
JenniferBottsJumalon

That opinon you posted was very disrespectful and uncalled for, this is about the loss of a pet not your political views.  How distaseful of you.

notsacredh
notsacredh

It really is. We've lost two pets in the last five years and I built them both coffins and buried their favorite toys with them. We still put their pictures out at Christmas. They have personalities just like people and don't judge. A person couldn't ask for a better friend.

Singedrac
Singedrac

Oh and the tens of thousands of American soldiers too, dead in pointless wars Bush started.

Sue_N
Sue_N

@sacredh sacred, my hubby's a Catholic deacon, and whenever we lose a pet, he robes up and gives it a funeral, holy water and all. We've buried birds, cats and dogs, and they've all gotten a heartfelt send-off.

doddeb
doddeb

Sacredh : How is your dog doing after the surgery? My dog is thirteen now, although I am in total denial, she's starting to slow down some.

notsacredh
notsacredh

Sue_N, when I build the coffins, I sand them, stain them, line them, engrave their names, B-Day and date of death on them. We put rock headstones on the graves and plant flowers every year on the graves. It's a little strange when I think of it because I'm getting cremated and my ashes are going in a cookie jar. I've told my wife that I really don't care what she does with my ashes because once I die, I think that's the end.

Sue_N
Sue_N

@sacredh Glad your little girl is doing well. Sending lots of good thoughts for her continued recovery.

We've got three cats and a Doberman-Shepherd mix. He and the youngest cat have struck up a hilarious friendship. The dog is like 10 times the size of the cat, but the cat chases him around the house. He's also been known to steal the dog's toys and refuse to give them back. Separately, they're menaces. Together, they probably rank on the Fujita scale.

notsacredh
notsacredh

Our bull-pug was named Abbey after The Beatles' "Abbey Road". The German Shepherd was named Ziggy after Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust". Our cat is named Lucy after "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".

notsacredh
notsacredh

We had a bull-pug that was a trip. I'd go in to the game room and sit on the floor with my back against the loveseat and play video games. She's hop up on the love seat, put a paw on each of my shoulders and rest her chin on the top of my head while I played. We've got some great pictures of her doing that.

doddeb
doddeb

@sacredh : I am an animal lover too. A total sucker for the hard luck stories, all my pups have been rescues. No Mohawks yet, but the Chows do appreciate the lion cuts in the summer.

notsacredh
notsacredh

I'm an animal lover plain and simple. I have a way with dogs in particular. Our dog is a Pekingese. It's not a breed i would have chosen, but she would run to our house whenever they let her out so we took her in. We took her from a neighbor and told them they weren't getting her back. They abused her. Last summer I took her for a haircut to the groomer and had them give her a lion cut. I had them give her a Mohawk and dye it bright purple. My wife would have been furious if she could have stopped laughing.

doddeb
doddeb

@sacredh my dog is a Chow and shepard mix. She's a huge fan of apples and strangely enough, tomato sauce.

notsacredh
notsacredh

The tumor was huge. She also had to have two of her nipples removed. Her ovaries were the size of hen egss and they had to go too. She gets her sutures out in 12 days.

doddeb
doddeb

@sacredh : Glad to hear she's doing fine. That operation sounded pretty scary when you described it.

notsacredh
notsacredh

Our German Shepherd used to like celery and carrots. He was fond of just about any fruit or vegetable but he kind of flipped out over pineapple. You couldn't hand a piece to him, he'd take your fingers off trying to snatch them.

notsacredh
notsacredh

She's doing great. Much better than we'd expected or hoped for. She's still moving a little slow, but she wanted to play today. I had to hide her toys. I want her to take it easy for a couple of weeks. I've been giving her a slice of an orange a couple of times a day for a treat. She loves oranges and strawberries.