Posted: 00:08 EST
Several years ago, two Alsatian guard dogs owned by the Russian Embassy in the UK, were reportedly accused of savaging sheep in rural Kent. The dogs claimed diplomatic immunity to stave off farmers who want them destroyed according to the Independent. In 2013, Australian Bennett Miller used 36 wiener dogs and their volunteer owners to create a replica of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights as a performance art installation. See more here. So we had dogs that invoked diplomatic immunity, and dogs that were art muses!
In 2012, the pooches and all U.S. diplomatic pets were at the center of a very public campaign against United Airlines for its pet travel policy. (See here, here and here). That’s probably when the pets moved over to YouTube, FB and the blogs (also see The Pets of the US Foreign Service). A related trend — these days, we’ve got diplomatic pooches with varying degrees of official presence, from an occasional snapshot or two to a more persistent online presence. Here are few high ranking pooches:
SkipJack Armbruster, U.S. Embassy Marshall Islands
Bernie Mitchell, U.S. Embassy Burma
Deckard Oreck, U.S. Embassy Finland
Ambassador Bruce Oreck’s dog, Deckard, is named after — you guess it — Rick Deckard, the protagonist of Philip K. Dick’s sci-fi novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner to Hollywood). Apologies, we don’t have the text for this interview.
Hapa Berry, U.S. Embassy Australia
Curtis, Hapa and I wish you and your loved ones much joy in this wonderful season of peace. – JB pic.twitter.com/BhW06Em482
— US Embassy Canberra (@USAembassyinOZ) December 24, 2013
Fenway Hackett, U.S. Embassy The Vatican
Not all diplomatic pooches are created equal when it comes to their online presence, of course. We’ve searched for the top dogs on social media and came up with the following:
Colt Wilczynski aka @diplomat_dog
Ambodog of Artur Wilczynski @, Canada’s Ambassador to Norway
“A dog excited to be going on posting to Norway with his two daddies.” Although this labrador retriever has a small number of followers on Twitter as of this writing, he has lots of pics and is marvelously entertaining. How can you not love a pooch who writes, “As a Canadian diplomat, I don’t think I’m supposed to enjoy tonight’s episode of #MadamSecretary“? Or “I don’t want to get up. It’s too dark! And what does daddy mean- “Get used to it!”?
@diplomat_dog We will take great care of you, Diplo! And your dad can check at the gate if everything went fine! Have a great flight. :-)
— Royal Dutch Airlines (@KLM) November 27, 2014
Benjamin F. Kerry aka @
(Secretary John F. Kerry’s best friend in WashDC)
In November 2013, Secretary Kerry flew to Maine to pick up his new yellow Labrador puppy, Ben from Frances Plessner of Puddleduck Boarding Kennel who spent two months training the dog. According to the Boston Globe, Ben is named in honor of Ben Franklin, also known as the “Father of the American Foreign Service.” (Also see Secretary Kerry Gets a New Dog, Now a State Dept. Dog is Tweeting, Who Needs the NSA?) Ben, whose Twitter handle says @Diplomutt has 1,943 followers but is not terribly social online. He has only tweeted four times, and followed only six people, all State Department folks. He does not appear to entertain request for retweets even for a good cause.
If you’re looking at @Diplomutt to come to the rescue after a hashtag diplomacy debacle, you’re out of luck. It looks like Ben F. Kerry is on a very, very short leash with no other larger purpose than being the Secretary of State’s most devoted friend and most reserved sidekick in Washington, D.C.
Grigsby Lippert aka @GrigsbyBasset
(Ambodog of Mark Lippert @, the U.S. Ambassador to South Korea)
This Basset Hound is an upcoming star among diplomatic pooches. Although he only has over 500 followers, @GrigsbyBasset has tweeted over twenty times more than the more popular top dog from Foggy Bottom. He tweets lots of pictures and even made it to the pages of the Wall Street Journal:
— media360 news media (@media360) November 25, 2014
Our most favorite pooch among the lot is Scruffy Nellie, a feisty little terrier found on the street of Astana, Kazakhstan by a British diplomatic family. Her manservant is @GregQuinn, now the FCO High Commissioner designate to Guyana. Nellie has her own blog at Diplomatic Dog, followed by over 4200 subscribers. You may subscribe to follow her blog here and get your “regular sniffs.” She is on Facebook with regular updates on “hairy pudding adventures and occasional words of scruffy wisdom.” She’s also on Twitter (@) with 2,797 followers.
Here she is when she was newly found:
— Scruffy Nellie (@DiplomaticDog) May 18, 2013
Here she is in February 2014:
Scruffy Nellie, herself, is available for interviews. See the one she did here with BlogExpat.com. By the way, when her manservant gave an interview on behalf of the British Embassy in Astana (@UKinKZ with 2,196 followers), @ was there to retweet, and amplify.
— BritishEmbassyAstana (@UKinKZ) February 28, 2014
@ confirmed to us that Scruffy Nellie
is moving with him to Guyana this month and her family have arrived safely in Guyana. We’re looking forward to her Caribbean adventure; maybe she’ll get to see Kaieteur Falls!
* * *