39. A Fickle Dog Lover
Thomas Jefferson’s view of dogs underwent a complete reversal during his lifetime. In 1789, at the end of his stint as America’s ambassador to France, Jefferson was a dog lover. He especially liked shepherd dogs, and went out of his way to get some. As he put it in a letter to a friend, Jefferson spent the eve of his departure:
“[R]oving thro the neighborhood of this place to try to get a pair of shepherd’s dogs. We walked 10 miles, clambering the cliffs in quest of the shepherds, during the most furious tempest of wind and rain I was ever in”. He came across a human corpse during his ramblings, but no shepherd dogs. He lucked out the next day, however, and managed to buy “a chienne bergere big with pup”. Years later, as seen below, Jefferson’s love of dogs turned to hatred, and he called for exterminating the entire species.