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LBJ Lifts Beagle by Ears

Apr. 27, 1964 - President Johnson picked up his two beagle pups, Him and Her, by the ears today and let them yowl.

“Why did you do that?” a woman reporter inquired.

Mr. Johnson had just dropped Him, and a few moments before had lifted Her by the ears and let her down.

“To make him bark,” he said. “It’s good for him. And if you’ve ever followed dogs, you like to hear them yelp.”

The pups were frisking on the White House lawn when Mr. Johnson went to the Flower Garden to greet a task force on promoting increased foreign investment in securities of U.S. firms.

He called the dogs over, fed them some of their sugar-coated vitamin pills from a bottle, played with them a bit, rolled them over, then lifted them by the ears.

“You see what a dog will do when he gets in a crowd of bankers?” the President remarked with a smile after the yips subsided.

Some authorities on dogs questioned the President’s handling.

“I’ve never heard it said that this is good for beagles,” said John Neff, executive vice president of the American Kennel Club.

“I never heard of such a method, and I don’t approve,” said Carole A. White, who runs a beauty parlor for dogs in Georgetown.

Miss White said the generally accepted way to lift a dog was by supporting him with a hand under the stomach.

A number of dog handlers and breeders questioned today all agreed that lifting dogs by their ears was a harmful practice.

“Maybe it’s done in Texas, but I never heard of it,” said Clint Callahan, a beagle breeder who lives in Huntington, L.I.

Mrs. Evelyn Monte of New York, a dog expert and field trial judge, said there was a great deal that could go wrong with a dog’s ears.

As for yelping, she said that in all probability it was an expression of pain. She said the President’s remarks were strange, “coming from a man who says he likes dogs.”

Claude Williams, who runs a kennel in Ashton, Md., disapproved too. But Williams — who has boarded pets of four Presidents — hastened to add: “I’m a good Democrat, and I would not want to criticize the President.”

“I just feel he must have been misinformed,” Williams said. “I just don’t feel it could do a dog any good to have his ears bearing the weight of his body.”

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