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9 Presidents and Their Prized Pets
"If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."--President Harry S TrumanPresident Donald J. Trump has not held to many of the norms and traditions of the typical American presidency. But the one that may be the least noticed is that he is the first president without a pet in the White House in nearly 150 years. The last president with no pets was Andrew Johnson, who left office in 1869 and was the first U.S. president to be impeached. Bill Clinton, the only other president to be impeached, had a dog and a cat. This post features just a few of the over 300 pets who have been residents of the White House. Abraham Lincoln (1861-1863) Lincoln was a great lover of animals, especially cats. The Lincoln White House was home to dogs, cats, goats, rabbits, a horse, ponies and a turkey. After a live turkey was sent to the White House in late 1863 for the family to enjoy at Christmas dinner, Lincoln's youngest son Tad grew attached and adopted him as a pet, naming him Jack. He later convinced his father to spare the bird's life with a pardon. Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909) Theodore Roosevelt had six children, and also had the largest collection of pets to inhabit the White House. Among them were a small bear, a pig, a blue macaw, a lizard, guinea pigs, a badger, a hen, a hyena, a barn owl, a rabbit, snakes, a pony, a number of dogs and a one-legged rooster. William H. Taft (1909-1913) President Taft owned the last cow to graze on the White House lawn. Before Washington D.C. had dairies and milk delivery, cows were commonly used to provide milk and butter for the First Family. Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) As a way to show support for the troops overseas during World War I, Wilson kept a flock of up to 48 sheep. They grazed on the White House lawn to save manpower and lower grounds keeping costs. When the sheep were sheared, their wool was auctioned off to help raise money for the Red Cross, earning a total of $52,823 by the end of the war. Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929) Coolidge had a wide variety of pets. Besides thirteen dogs, several cats and birds (canaries, a mockingbird, and a goose), there were many more exotic and unconventional pets, including a wallaby, a donkey, a bobcat, lion cubs, raccoons, a pygmy hippo, and a black bear. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) Roosevelt's Scottish Terrier Fala was his inseparable companion. The dog traveled everywhere with him and became very popular with the American people. He is the only dog to have a statue erected at a presidential memorial in the Nation's capital, where he appears alongside the president at the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C. John F. Kennedy (1961-1963) President Kennedy, with two young children, had a menagerie of pets while living at the White House, including four horses, two ponies, seven dogs, hamsters, parakeets, a cat, a canary and a rabbit. One of the dogs, Pushinka, a gift from Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev whose mother, Strelka, was one of the first dogs to fly into space and return alive. Richard M. Nixon (1969-1974) One of the most famous pets associated with the White House never actually lived there. Nixon's dog Checkers was immortalized in a speech given by Nixon shortly before the 1952 election. The Republican vice-presidential nominee addressed allegations of illegal campaign contributions and acknowledged that he was keeping one gift for his two young daughters--a Cocker Spaniel puppy from a supporter in Texas. Perhaps most significant, this was the first American political speech to be televised live and a national audience of 60 million viewers watched. Barack H. Obama (2009-2017) President Obama never had a dog until after entering the White House, when he fulfilled a campaign promise to his two young daughters. The family received Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog, as a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy. Subscribe via email to Share This and never miss a post.