When I wrote my new book "And the Good News Is…" I fended off attempts by others to cut out parts about my dog Jasper (I have been known to go on and on about him, I know). I’m glad I won those battles because clearly he is more popular than me.
Out on the book tour for the last month, I’ve loved getting to meet some of the viewers of "The Five," fans of President George W. Bush, and even long lost family members (some of whom I’ve never met but who had followed me since I first stepped up to the podium in the White House Briefing Room).
But the one constant, the one thing they all asked about (no, not you, Greg Gutfeld), was Jasper.
“I thought I’d meet Jasper.”
“Don’t let them give you a hard time about Jasper.”
“When will Jasper be back on the show?"
“We love Jasper!”
There was even a family that had made “Jasper for President” T-shirts (and wore them!). Jasper’s was a bit big, but he can use it as a night shirt.
Thankfully, in anticipation of interest in America’s Dog I came up with a stamp that has his signature and paw print - people giggle and say “Oh, I got Jasper!” I prayed the ink didn’t run out on days such as in The Villages, Florida where the line stretched out the door and around the block.
Fans of Jasper brought him toys and treats, so many that I had to make an appeal on The Five and Facebook for folks to resist bringing him treats or to donate them in his name to a local shelter. As I explained, I didn’t want him to end up getting a new nickname, “Fatsper.”
I also got pictures of family pets that love Jasper, some framed. Someone made me a handmade quilt for Jasper, and another gave me a gem for myself made of, what else? Red Jasper. There were bracelets, greeting cards, and some even brought their own dogs to meet me (my favorite were the PTS service dogs -- they make great companions for their owners).
In Chapter 6 of my book I write about how family pets can be a great equalizer -- disagreeing with someone’s politics isn’t a reason to automatically dislike them. We can always find something to talk about, and one of the best topics is dogs.
And it turns out, they can help bring people together over a book, too. And that’s very good news indeed.
Dana Perino currently serves as co-host of FOX News Channel's "The Five" (weekdays 9-10PM/ET). She previously served as Press Secretary for President George W. Bush. She is the author of the new book "Let Me Tell You about Jasper : How My Best Friend Became America's Dog" (October 25, 2016). Ms. Perino joined the network in 2009 as a contributor. Click here for more information on Dana Perino. Follow her on Twitter@DanaPerino.