Meet Ireland President Higgins and his two loyal dogs

A combination photo of Ireland President Michael Higgins and his dogs. [Photo Courtesy]

Ireland President Michael D Higgins’ tale best tells the story that a dog is man’s best friend.

The decorated president has been described as a national treasure and the most admired leader in Ireland, but it is his dogs that steal the spotlight.

When you search his name on social networks, you will not swipe much before coming across a photo of him with his two popular pooches named Bród and Síoda.

Bród is a male with the name meaning “pride” and Síoda is female. Her name is translated to mean “silk.”

The two dogs are Higgins’ true friends that leave paw prints on his heart.

Occasionally, he shows up in state events accompanied by his Bernese mountain dogs. The ninth President of Ireland would melt people’s heart by petting the dogs in public.

“Síoda is quite a refined young lady compared with Bród, who is an attention-seeking male and cannot resist a stage or a camera opportunity,” the Irish Times writes.

The two big softies never wander far from Michael D’s side.

Speaking during a local radio show in 2018, Higgins said that he likes his dogs because they are sociable and safe with people of any age.

Various international guests who have visited the President were delighted to be greeted by his “friends.”

During the show, an emotional Higgins revealed that he had three dogs but one succumbed to illness.

“I’ve had dogs all my life. The second dog that I took on was a dog that had (health) difficulties. They’re both beautiful dogs,” he said.

Most people adore Higgins because of his dalliance with the canines. This, however, does not sit well with others.

Higgins political rival Peter Casey during the 2018 presidential contest released a video criticising the dogs.

Without evidence, Casey periodically claimed that Higgins uses Sh1 million of taxpayers money to groom his dogs.

Higgins on his part has repeatedly refuted Casey’s claims saying he digs into his personal pocket to take care of the dogs.

Some question his patriotism on why he does not have Irish dogs.

“Being President of Ireland you’d think Michael D would have an Irish Wolfhound, an Irish Setter, an Irish Water Spaniel or a Kerry Beagle,” a narrator in Casey’s longer video can be heard commenting.

According to a fact check story by The Journal, Bernese Mountain Dog are groomed at a price range of Sh8500 to Sh11000, with one groomer saying the breed requires grooming at least every six weeks.

This would suggest that it would cost between Sh68000 and Sh88000 for a Bernese Mountain Dog such as Higgins’ to be groomed each year.

The journals quotes Higgins annual salary as Sh24,901,400 and termed Casey’s claims as unfounded.

The pooches would, later on, have a vital role to play in Higgins’ re-election as unofficial page of the two was opened on Twitter to campaign for their ‘friend.’

“Basically you vote @MichaelDHiggins and you get seven more years of us. Hard choice? Níl.”

Higgins has been Ireland’s president since 2011.