Wednesday, Mar 30, 2016
* Gov. Rauner once told me that Pumpkin was the best hunting dog he’d ever known. She was also a sweet and gentle creature with a big heart and the governor was obviously closely attached to her. She wasn’t just a hunter, she was a true companion.
I first met Pumpkin when I brought my own dog, Oscar, to the mansion for a visit a year ago. Pumpkin was 16 at the time, and she had some serious breathing troubles, so I was amazed at how she did her very best to keep up with Oscar and the Rauner family’s other dog Stella as they raced around the mansion grounds and up and down the steep staircases to the patio.
Pumpkin’s breathing problems worsened over the last year, but she was always the same, cheerful, gentle dog whenever I saw her. The last time I visited, the governor and I talked briefly about how sad he was that he would eventually have to put her down. She didn’t want to give up and he didn’t want to give up on her. Bruce Rauner is not a man who easily displays emotion, but it was clear to me how painful Pumpkin’s decline was to him and to his entire family.
When I heard that Pumpkin passed away this week, I decided to interrupt my vacation to pay tribute to a very special, very determined, very loving being. Will Rogers once said, “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” I couldn’t agree more.
* Here’s Pumpkin in her younger days…