In honor of the American Humane Association’s Adopt-A-Dog Month, below are some famous dog owners and their pets.
James Buchanan, the only bachelor President, was accompanied at all times by Lara, his 170-pound Newfoundland, notable for a huge tail, an incredible attachment to his master, and the habit of lying motionless for hours with one eye open and one eye closed.
Abraham Lincoln‘s first dog was Honey, an injured brown and white hound dog he found in a Kentucky cave and nursed back to health. Five years before being elected, Lincoln’s constant companion was Fido, a floppy-eared, yellow mutt. His wife did not want Fido tracking mud onto White House carpets and jumping on formal furniture, so Lincoln sadly agreed to leave Fido with friends in Springfield, IL with strict instructions to indulge him. At the President’s funeral, Fido met with the grieving public, who felt like they touched the President himself by petting his dog.
Theodore Roosevelt was an avid outdoorsman, and his home was filled with many dogs. Skip, a mixed breed adopted on a hunting trip, was his favorite. Skip’s short legs made it hard to keep up with his master on horseback, so the President would scoop him up to ride on the saddle. Eventually, Skip would jump on the back of Algonquin, the pony belonging to Roosevelt’s 7-year-old son, Archie. It was quite a sight to see a small dog riding a small horse around the White House grounds all by himself! Although Skip was buried behind the White House, Edith Roosevelt had his casket exhumed and moved to their estate at Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay, Long Island, explaining, “Teddy couldn’t bear to leave him there beneath the eyes of Presidents who might care nothing for a little mutt dog.”
Richard Nixon used his daughter Tricia’s black-and-white cocker spaniel named Checkers to improve his public image When it looked like he might be dropped as Eisenhower’s Vice Presidential nominee due to questionable funds and gifts to aid his political career, he responded to these charges in an emotional speech and said the family would NOT return the gift of Checkers: “The kids love the dog, and regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it!”
Lyndon Johnson loved his dogs: the white collie, Blanco, the terrier, Yuki, and two beagles. Him and Her (who made the cover of Life magazine). Lady Bird nixed his plan to bring the dogs to daughter Luci’s White House wedding, but he managed to sneak them in for official family pictures. Pawprints adorned the Johnson Christmas cards right next to LBJ’s signature. However, he damaged his reputation while trying to get the beagles to do tricks for photographers. LBJ picked up Him by his big, floppy ears and pictures of the yelping dog hanging by its ears appeared in every major newspaper before the day’s end. Johnson was severely criticized by animal experts and the public, but this didn’t discourage him from letting TV cameras film him and Yuki “singing” in the Oval Office.
Gerald Ford was actually locked out of the White House one night when he took Liberty, his golden retriever, out for a late walk on the south lawn and forgot to alert the Secret Service agents. Picture the President in his nightclothes, standing next to Liberty, pounding on the second-floor door inside the hallway, and having searchlights trained on him and agents pointing guns at him!
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