Animals We’ll Miss
Miss Beazley, 9, October 28, 2004–May 17, 2014
A void was left in George W. Bush’s Dallas home this May with the departure of Miss Beazley, his beloved Scottish terrier. A fixture in the White House for several years (Bush gave her to the first lady in late 2004), the boisterous Scottish terrier deftly filled the role of first dog. From snuggling with Bush in the Oval Office to bounding toward him across the White House lawn, Miss Beazley clearly held a special place in the former president’s heart.
Miss Beazley was also quite the actress, starring in the ten-minute 2005 film “A Very Beazley Christmas,” alongside Barney (the Bushes’ other Scottish terrier, who died in February 2013). Focusing on Miss Beazley’s first holiday season at the White House, the video features the rivalry between Barney and the newest member of the Bush family, a review of the pooch’s strong poll numbers, and even the first dog’s (fake) debut as a candidate on C-SPAN. “Both of you are an important part of our family, and you have to remember the true meaning of the holiday season,” the president tells the dogs as they sit on chairs in front of his desk. “Now you two run on, I’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Miss Beazley was put down in May after fighting lymphoma. The former president announced her passing on his Facebook page: “She was a source of joy during our time in Washington and in Dallas. She was a close companion to her blood relative, Barney. And even though he received all the attention, Beazley never held a grudge against him. She was a guardian to our cats, Bob and Bernadette, who—like Laura and I—will miss her.” –Lauren Caruba
(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Thelma and Louise, 13 months, June 18, 2013–July 29, 2014
Thelma and Louise were partners in crime from the very beginning. When the rare two-headed Texas river cooter hatched at the San Antonio Zoo in the summer of 2013, the turtle was eagerly welcomed by zookeepers, who fielded numerous calls and emails from amateur herpetologists about her. They christened the turtle Thelma and Louise, after the 1991 movie starring Gina Davis and Susan Sarandon (Thelma was the right head, Louise the left).
As a Texas cooter, a species found naturally only in Texas, and the namesake of a film with Texas references, Thelma and Louise was “about as Texas as it gets,” said Craig Pelke, curator of reptiles, amphibians, and aquatics at the zoo.
Just a month after the river turtle’s birth, the strange specimen already had its own Facebook page, which has nearing 8,500 likes and still posthumously shares news on the state of Texas’s turtles. The turtle was also filmed last year for an episode of Nat Geo Wild. Hundreds of children visited the turtle in June to celebrate the birthday of Thelma and Louise, creating cards for the zoo’s most unusual creature. “She was extremely popular. People really enjoyed her,” Pelke said. And with her second head, “She had a little extra element of cuteness to her,” he added.
Although Thelma and Louise was clearly an anomaly (although not entirely uncommon among reptiles, especially turtles and snakes), the turtle lived out its short life with “good vigor,” according to Pelke, swimming around and basking in the sun. Despite “daily intensive care and monitoring” by the zoo, Thelma and Louise died suddenly in late July from complications due to her abnormal physiology, including a lack of growth, an extra lung lobe, and a partially formed second heart. –Lauren Caruba
Goliath, World’s Tallest Horse
If Michael Jordan were to bow up to Goliath, his puffed-out chest wouldn’t have even reached the horse’s shoulder. For once, the six-foot-six Jordan would have been the David in an underdog tale. But no slingshot would have been needed. The horse, a black Percheron who stood at 19.1 hands (six-foot-five at the withers), was a gentle giant.
After being crowned World’s Tallest Horse by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2005, he traveled from coast to coast, making appearances all along the way. Sometimes his presence caused a ruckus in the towns he visited, and police would have to ask that he move along to the next stop on his tour. “[People] were parked all along the road,” said Caroline Dyer, a caretaker of Goliath’s at Priefert Ranch, just south of Mount Pleasant. “They had to basically shut down traffic because everybody was at this one little store in the corner of town, waiting for their turn to see the tallest living horse.”
Radar, a close friend of Goliath’s and fellow Priefert Ranch horse, later went on to take Goliath’s title as World’s Tallest Horse, but the two didn’t allow this to disrupt their friendship. “You never saw one in the pasture if the other wasn’t right beside him, so there were no hard feelings,” Dyer said. “Even though Radar had taken Goliath’s record, they were still pretty tight.”
Goliath passed away from old age in July, but a monument erected over his grave at the Priefert Ranch keeps his memory alive. –Kelsey Davis