alt

Good Friend and Overrated Bird Dog

Ol’ Roy was known to lie down when he should have stood on point, but Sam Walton still appreciated his skill as a hunting partner.

 

Ol’ Roy first became known and loved by Walmart associates and customers as Sam Walton’s companion while he was visiting stores. Ol’ Roy’s adventures were well-known. He got in a fight with a skunk, was caught by one of Sam’s grandchildren while fishing, and found a covey of quail on the tarmac of the Poteau, Oklahoma, airport.

 

Did you know?

Ol’ Roy had a brother. Ol’ Ben was adopted by Walmart executive Ferold Arend. 

A Close Call

 

In 1979, the English Setter went missing after a very successful bird hunt in South Texas. Sam and his hunting companions looked all over for Roy, but eventually left, assuming the dog was dead. A heartbroken Sam told the story in a letter to associates: “I suspected it was Ol’ Roy’s time and the only consolation I have is that for an old hunting dog, the best place in the world to expire would be in the field.” But Ol’ Roy wasn’t dead, just hurt. Another hunter found him a couple of days later, treated his wounds, and returned him home.

 

Gone, But Not Forgotten

 

In 1980, Walmart re-named its private label dog food in honor of Ol’ Roy, and his likeness was added to the packaging. Over the next few decades, Ol’ Roy became a bestseller, and other varieties and products were added to the Ol’ Roy line. Ol’ Roy died in 1981, but as the namesake of the highest-selling dog food in the United States, he leaves a legacy as one of the greatest—or most overrated—bird dogs in history.  

alt