Monday, February 18, 2013

Presidential Dogs

Happy Presidents' Day! In keeping with the Presidential holiday spirit, I thought I'd post some information about presidents and their dogs that I discovered from a wonderful online TIME Magazine photo essay, entitled "Presidents and their Dogs."

The photo essay features 16 presidents with dogs: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

(Out of my own curiosity, I colored the presidents' names to denote their political party. Most of the dog owners were Republican, and with the exception of my main man George Washington who had no party affiliation, no presidents from parties predating the Democratic/Populist party are featured.)

I am not sure if these were the only presidents to have dogs, but I assume there were other presidents with dogs that were not as  well-documented, as the only presidents prior to the 20th century on this list are Washington and Lincoln, two of the most famous presidents of all time.

These are some of the stories I found most interesting:

 George Washington is my favorite president, and he was a meticulous breeder of American Foxhounds. He listed more than 30 in his journal and apparently liked to drink, as he gave them names such as "Drunkard" and "Tipsy."

Warren G. Harding was the ultimate Dog Dad, even in the 1920's, as he threw birthday parties for his Airdale, Laddie Boy, complete with dog cake. He even had a special cabinet chair made for his dog to sit in at "high-level meetings."

FDR's Scottie, Fala, was a celebrity in his own right, starring in a movie. He also had his own press secretary and was named an honorary Army Private.

This one is sad. Harry S. Truman received Feller as a gift and then gave him away, causing people to refer to him as "the unwanted dog."

JFK had many dogs (there are 6 in this picture) and had a special dog play area added on to the West Wing. The Kennedy family is full of dog lovers, and Ted Kennedy actually gave Bo to the Obamas and referred them to his dog trainer.

This is actually the story that motivated Steven and I to find this photo essay. George W. Bush had a Scottish Terrier named Barney while in office who he was very devoted to. A few weeks ago, Barney passed away from Lymphoma at 12 years of age. Like Fala, he became well-loved and famous from his own Barney-cam movies, although they weren't quite as high-profile.

RIP Barney Bush

No comments:

Post a Comment