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MEET NORTH CAROLINA’S “FIRST DOGS”


by Donna S. Elliott


Photos by Diane Lewis Photography


On the day I was to meet North Carolina’s “First Dogs,” I drove to the governor’s mansion on Blount Street in Raleigh, NC not quite sure what to expect. I’d never been to a governor’s home or to an executive mansion. I pulled up to the iron gate and announced myself. The friendly female voice coming through the speaker asked me to park in the brick part of the driveway and enter the front entrance.


The gate rolled open, and I drove in and parked, as asked. A tall man dressed in a suit graciously greeted me at the front door. He walked me past a grand staircase and past several rooms to the library and invited me to be seated. The room was comfortable and quiet. I wondered what life in an executive mansion would be like, right up until I heard the dogs come gently barking down the hall; it then felt like any other home.


The First Gentleman, Mr. Bob Eaves, led Dosie and Zipper by leash into the library. After some hellos, Dosie jumped up beside Mr. Eaves on the settee and settled in for the visit. Zipper stayed on the floor between Julia Lee, director of the Office of the First Gentleman, and me.


Dosie and Zipper are Tibetan Terriers; however, Tibetan Terriers are, in fact, not terriers at all. They were called


14 Volume 2 • Issue 1 T The Triangle Dog


terriers by the British simply because they look like terriers. The British discovered the breed when they visited Tibet -- thus the name Tibetan Terriers. According to the American Kennel Club, Tibetan Terriers were known 2,000 years ago as the “Holy Dog of Tibet” and were treasured as good companions and watchdogs.


Mr. Eaves and Governor Perdue chose the breed after researching in the dog encyclopedia. He said they kept coming back to Tibetan Terriers because of their size and the fact that they are good family dogs. Mr. Eaves and Governor Perdue now have six grandchildren, so being a good family dog was an important characteristic for the first dog to have.


Dosie joined the family first.


“We got her in 2001, just after my wife had been elected lieutenant governor,” Mr. Eaves explained. “The lieutenant governor is the number two -- “numero dos” -- position in the state, so we named her Dosie. The official name is Lady of the Trent, because our other home is on the Trent River in New Bern.”


Dosie is 11, and 6 years ago she had a litter of puppies from which Zipper came. Zipper was the runt of the litter.


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