William Randolph Hearst was not a popular man in his day. The businessman, politician, and newspaper magnate who built the nation’s largest newspaper chain and media company was hard nosed and hard biting, and not above sensationalism and yellow journalism to keep his company on top.
The man, however, was a softie when it came to his dogs. He was a Dachshund man, a breed he bred at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. Of them all, his “heart dog” was “Helen, a miniature smooth-coat who by all accounts ran Hearst Castle. When Helen died in 1942, Hearst was inconsolable. He responded to a letter of condolence from his editor by publishing a eulogy to Helen in the “In the News” column of Time magazine:
“A boy and his dog are no more inseparable companions than an old fellow and his dog. An old bozo is a nuisance to almost everybody — except his dog….She always slept on a big chair in my room and her solicitous gaze followed me to bed at night and was the first thing to greet me when I woke in the morning. Then when I arose she begged for the special distinction of being put in my bed. . . .
“Aldous Huxley says: ‘Every dog thinks its master Napoleon, hence the popularity of dogs.’ That is not the strict truth. Every dog adores its master notwithstanding the master’s imperfections of which it is probably acutely aware. . . .
“So as your dog loves you, you come to love your dog. Not because it thinks you are Napoleon, not because YOU think you are Napoleon. Not because you WANT to be Napoleon. But because love creates love, devotion inspires devotion, unselfishness begets unselfishness and self-sacrifice. . . .
“Helen died in my bed and in my arms. . . . I will not need a monument to remember her. But I am placing over her little grave a stone with the inscription:
“Here lies dearest Helen —my devoted friend.”
Toward the end of his life, Hearst still had some seventy Dachshunds in his kennels; his love of dogs evidently passed on to his granddaughter, Patricia Hearst Shaw, a regular on the dog-show circuit, and whose French bulldogs, “Tuggy” and “Rubi,” won Best of Breed, and Best of Opposite Sex, respectively, as the most recent Westminster Kennel Club Dog show in 2017.
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