Billy Graham in the Dog House

My great-grandparents retired to Mississippi Road in Montreat, NC, just down the road from Billy and Ruth Graham’s house; my grandparents rented a house across the street in 1953. In his memoir, my grandfather tells this story about my Aunt Alice playing down at the Graham house.1

Our Alice was six years old that summer and often went up the road several doors to the Billy Graham home to play with their daughter GiGi who was slightly older. After she had been there one morning, the following conversation took place at lunch.

Joe: “Alice, where have you been playing this morning?”
Alice: “I played at GiGi’s house.”
Joe: “That’s nice; what did you do?”
Alice: “Oh, we played in the doghouse.”

The Grahams had a huge St. Bernard named Belshazzar, almost the size of a small pony, and of course it was necessary to have a very large doghouse to accommodate him. The conversation continued.

Joe: “Well, what’s it like in the doghouse?”
Alice: " It’s real nice; it’s got pictures on the wall.”
Joe: “Oh, whose pictures are on the wall of the doghouse?”
Alice: “GiGi’s daddy’s picture!”
Joe: “Who put GiGi’s daddy’s pictures on the wall of the doghouse?”
Alice: “GiGi’s mommy!”

The only confirmation of this honor conferred on the young evangelist comes from the lips of a little six year old and as yet I have never asked Ruth or Billy Graham to confirm it. The Reader’s Digest would certainly have paid generously for this story (whether true or not) but I hesitated to trade on a contact with personal friends in this way. However, if I ever get really hard up for cash, I just might submit this tale!

Graham's dog Belshazzar
Behshazzar (from

  1. Page 184 ↩︎