Cuomo Loves to Paw but Does He Hate His Dog?

A new report alleges Captain, a three-year-old Northern Inuit mix, was left behind in the governor’s mansion

In the Doghouse

If almost-former Gov. Andrew Cuomo wasn’t considered a disgraced man before (he was), he will be now. The Albany Times Union reports that the governor, who resigned after being accused of sexual misconduct by 11 women, left his dog, Captain, at the Executive Mansion in Albany and has been asking household staff members if anyone would like to keep him.

Per the Times Union:

Two State Police sources told the Times Union on Saturday that the governor had recently asked mansion staff members if anyone would be interested in caring for the dog. Captain — a high-strung mix of shepherd, Siberian and malamute — has nipped a few people since Cuomo adopted him in 2018, the sources said, and a mansion staffer recently took the dog home for a few days but decided he was too much.

One of the sources said that, according to the staffer who tried caring for Captain for a few days, “the dog walks him, he don’t walk the dog.”

Richard Azzopardi, Cuomo’s director of communications, ripped into the Times Union when asked for comment: “Captain is part of the governor's family and for your nameless ill-informed source to imply they've been trying to give him away is untrue … Someone offered to watch him for a few days while the transition was ongoing but for that to be weaponized and morph from a game of telephone into the pages of your paper is absurd — now excuse us, we're preparing for a major storm.” He said that the arrangement, i.e., the governor leaving his dog behind, was only “temporary” because Cuomo is planning to go on vacation after he leaves office before midnight tonight.

On Twitter Monday morning, Azzopardi stated again: “Captain is a member of the family and he’s going to stay that way. The palace intrigue has gone amok.”

Cuomo acquired Captain, the great nephew of one of the dogs who played a direwolf on Game of Thrones, in February 2018 and has made him an integral part of his public image ever since (high-society website Guest of a Guest: “Does Governor Cuomo Love His Dog Captain a Little Too Much?”). Here is Cuomo with the cute puppy in the early days, proclaiming himself “proud” to introduce the newest member of the administration:

Here he is teaching Captain how to greet constituents:

Here he is celebrating National Pet Day:

And National Dog Day:

And Love Your Pet Day?!

Here he is recycling a photo of Captain for another post:

Some might also recognize Captain from an anecdote told by former aide Lindsey Boylan, who was the first woman to accuse the governor of sexual misconduct. She told the New Yorker that in 2018, at the end of a press conference during which Cuomo introduced his new dog, Captain started excitedly jumping up and down near Boylan. In response, Cuomo allegedly joked that if he were a dog, he would try to “mount” Boylan, too.

Captain also featured in Cuomo’s tales of solidarity during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The dog is also experiencing cabin fever,” the governor said during a press briefing in April 2020. “He has anxiety.”

Captain popped up again on August 7, post-state attorney general report about the multiple allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct, in this New York Post story: “Gov. Andrew Cuomo spends day with possibly his only friend left in Albany.”

As for Cuomo himself, he was recently spotted moving his belongings into his sister’s home in Westchester because he has nowhere else to go. The property, owned by sister Maria Cole and her husband Kenneth Cole (the fashion designer), reportedly has a large backyard — spacious enough, one would think, for a dog to run around on.

Update: NYC mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa apparently paid a visit to Albany today to, in his words, embark on “a mission of mercy to rescue Captain.” On Twitter, the Republican candidate extended an invitation to Captain to live in Gracie Mansion with him. (The subtext is that Sliwa believes that he will win the election against Eric Adams and move out of his studio apartment with 16 rescue cats into the official mayoral residence.)

But Sliwa may be too late. The New York State Animal Protective Federation tweeted on Monday morning that Captain will be going home with Cuomo at the end of the day, per Cuomo spokesperson Azzopardi. Best of luck, Captain!