Well over 200 presidential pets have lived in the White House, including very good dogs Bo and Sunny. For a short time, Wikipedia told readers that the next pet at the White House will be “Newty the Pig-dog.”
Newty aside, Donald Trump could well be the first petless president in 150 years.
The president-elect’s been offered this adorable Goldendoodle puppy, but we don’t know whether Trump has accepted the gift.
President keep pets for pretty much the same reason normal humans do.
Claire McLean, founder and president of the Presidential Pet Museum said:
“Pets are non-judgemental, loving, and utterly devoted. Animals give warmth and privacy. They don’t talk back, they relieve stress, and most importantly, they are the president’s best friends.
Trump doesn’t have any pets, including pet rocks. He doesn’t have any furry (or rocky) little ones to snuggle with.
Here are some presidents and their dogs, bears, alligators, birds, horses, hippos and other friends. All of whom were very good.
Not only did George Washington love his hounds, he created a new breed: the American Foxhound. He began to crossbreed big French hounds with his own black and tan hounds to create a new type of hound. He probably had about 50 or more dogs during his lifetime.
And he was creative in the names he gave them: like Sweet Lips, Tipsy, Tipler, Drunkard, and Vulcan.
A revolutionary war story shows perfectly how Washington felt about dogs.
On October 6, 1777, a little terrier was seen wandering the area between the American and British lines. It turns out that General Howe’s little terrier had somehow gotten loose and had become lost on the battlefield. The dog was identified from its collar and brought to Washington.
His officers suggested that he might want to keep the dog as a sort of trophy which might weaken the morale of the British general. Instead, he took the dog into his tent, fed him and had him brushed and cleaned. Then, to the surprise of everyone, Washington ordered a cease-fire. The shooting stopped and soldiers on both sides watched as one of Washington’s aides formally returned a little dog to the British commander under a flag of truce.
John Adams preferred horses to dogs. He built the first stables at the White House. No wonder he preferred the equine variety! His wife, the first lady, had a dog called Satan. The other one was Juno.
Juno especially captured the heart of the first lady. In a letter to her granddaughter, Caroline Smith, Abigail wrote: “If you love me … you must love my dog.” and “You will be glad to learn that Juno yet lives, although like her mistress she is gray with age.”
The letter continued: The dog “appears to enjoy life and be grateful for the attention paid her. She wags her tail and announces a visitor whenever one appears.”
Thomas Jefferson had two pet bear cubs, which he kept in a cage on public display on the White House front lawn. When they grew too big for their cages, he sent them to live in a museum. (yes, a museum! Not a zoo)
Jefferson’s political opponents jokingly referred to the president’s “bear-garden,” a term dating back to the Elizabethan-era that connotes a rough and rowdy area.
He also had a mockingbird, Dick, who ate from the president’s mouth. Dick often sang along when Jefferson played his violin.
John Quincy Adams had an alligator that lived in the East Room bathroom for two months. It was a gift from the same Frenchman who sent Washington his hounds. Sources report that Adams enjoyed showing the scary-looking animal off to disbelieving White House visitors for several months before it moved to a different home.
Large reptiles made another appearance a century later at the White House during the Depression, during Herbert Hoover’s presidency in the early 1930s.
Hoover’s younger son, Allan, had two pet alligators that frequented the White House grounds, amazing and quite possibly terrifying guests. The gators certainly must have kept King Tut, Hoover’s own German shepherd, on edge — not to mention the president’s Secret Service agents!
Lincoln dog Fido may be responsible for the enduring popularity of the name as a representative of all dogs. Instructions Lincoln left for his dog’s minders show just how much of a dog’s life Fido led (a good dog’s life, that is!)
He was always to be allowed in the house, never to be tied up alone, never to be scolded for muddy paws and to be fed at the family table. Lincoln even gave the family his horsehair sofa, which was Fido’s favorite piece of furniture.
Warren Harding’s dog, Laddie Boy, was served a birthday cake made of dog biscuits. Laddie Boy was the first White House celebrity dog. In a 39-day period in the spring of 1921, these are just some of the headlines that appeared in the Times:
“Gets Airedale as Mascot”
“Laddie Boy a Newsboy”
“Trees White House Cat”
“Laddie Boy Gets Playmate
The airedale had his own seat at Cabinet meetings and gave a 1921 “interview” with The Washington Post in which he talked about Prohibition and shortening the workday for guard dogs.
Teddy Roosevelt’s pony, Algonquin, rode up the White House elevator. The Roosevelt children’s family of pets included a small bear named Jonathan Edwards; a lizard named Bill; guinea pigs named Admiral Dewey, Dr. Johnson, Bishop Doane, Fighting Bob Evans, and Father O’Grady; Maude the pig; Josiah the badger; Eli Yale the blue macaw; Baron Spreckle the hen; a one-legged rooster; a hyena; a barn owl; Peter the rabbit; and Algonquin the pony.
President Roosevelt loved the pets as much as his children did. Algonquin was so beloved that when the President’s son Archie was sick in bed, his brothers Kermit and Quentin brought the pony up to his room in the elevator. But Algonquin was so captivated by his own reflection in the elevator mirror that it was hard to get him out!
Roosevelt was running for his fourth term when rumors surfaced that his Scottish Terrier, Fala, had accidentally been left behind when visiting the Aleutian Islands. After allegedly sending back ships to rescue his dog, Roosevelt was ridiculed and accused of spending thousands of taxpayers’ dollars to retrieve his dog. At a speech following this Roosevelt said, “you can criticize me, my wife and my family, but you can’t criticize my little dog. He’s Scotch and all these allegations about spending all this money have just made his little soul furious.”What was later called the “Fala Speech” reportedly helped secure his re-election.
Calvin Coolidge had six dogs, a bobcat, a goose, a donkey, a cat, two lion cubs, an antelope, and a wallaby. The main attraction in his personal zoo, though, was Billy or William Johnson Hippopotamus, a pygmy hippopotamus.
In addition to his fame as an exotic presidential pet—which afforded him a trip to the 1939 New York World’s Fair—Billy is also notable as the common ancestor to most pygmy hippos in American zoos. By the time of his death in 1955, Billy had sired 23 calves.
George H.W. Bush brought his pet springer spaniel Millie to the White House. Millie is credited as the author of Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush which reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller nonfiction list.
To this day, Millie’s book has outsold the memoirs of both the former first lady and former president George H.W. Bush.
Bush mentioned her in a speech during his 1992 bid for re-election, saying “My dog Millie knows more about foreign affairs than these two bozos” in reference to opposition candidates Bill Clinton and Al Gore.
Millie was portrayed in an episode of Murphy Brown as well as an episode of Wings and Who’s The Boss. Millie made also a cameo appearance in The Simpsons episode “Two Bad Neighbors” in a scene where the former President Bush is jogging with some of his new neighbors.
Gerald Ford’s golden retriever Liberty hung out in the Oval Office.
Liberty was frequently photographed with Ford in the Oval Office, in the swimming pool at Camp David and on the South Lawn of the White House. She also had a litter of pups in the White House on September 14, 1975, one of which – Misty – was kept by Ford. Photographs of the dog were autographed with a rubber stamp of her paw print.
She could supposedly read a sign from Ford that she should go be affectionate to guests—a cute and cuddly way to gracefully end the President’s conversations.
William Howard Taft, was one of the last presidents to keep a cow on the White House grounds. Pauline Wayne, often called the “Queen of the Capital Cows,” was a pretty 4-year-old, black-and-white, 1,500-pound Holstein-Friesian cow of registered stock. Her job was to provide milk and butter for the First Family.
The Washington Post, in particular, “had something of an obsession with Pauline,” reports National Journal, which declared that the Post covered this pet cow much “like Us Weekly would a Kardashian.” “A search of its archives reveals more than 20 stories mentioning Pauline between 1910 and 1912,” says National Journal. And there were some doozies – the time she went missing for 2 days and the time she was was (sort of) robbed.
Andrew Jackson tended to a family of mice living in his bedroom. Really. He’d place fresh water next to the fireplace and keep a constant basket of flour for them on the floor. He spent the post-impeachment part of his presidency caring for them. He referred to the mice as his “little fellows”.
May we suggest these guys as the new Whitehouse pets? They don’t need to be fed, walked, bathed, or groomed; and wouldn’t die, become sick, or be disobedient.
Click here for more odd facts about American presidents.
Siobhan is a freelance writer, research addict and lover of twisted history. If you like horrible but amazing history, check out her website www.interesly.com or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/interesly. Or you can reach her through www.siobhanoshea.com.