Pets are back at the White House
Donald Trump was the first president in more than a hundred years to not have a pet in the White House. Before him it was James Polk to not have a pet. But the new President Joe Biden is back with the tradition. Biden’s German Shepherds – Champ and Major – have joined the President and First Lady and have already garnered quite a fan following. A Twitter page in their name has tens of thousands of followers.
Let’s look at the history of some of the First Pets of the US…
Former President Barack Obama had Portuguese Water Dogs Bo and Sunny. Bo was given as a gift to the Obama children from Senator Ted Kennedy in 2009, while Sunny came along in August 2013. Bo, who has a white chest and front paws, and the all-black Sunny proved popular, even helping with official duties.
Bill Clinton had a chocolate Labrador called Buddy during his time as president, as well as a cat named Socks. Hillary Clinton even wrote a book about the two pets, called Dear Socks, Dear Buddy, which includes letters from children and details about their rivalry and habits.
George W Bush had two Scottish Terriers called Miss Beazley and Barney while he was president. The dogs featured in videos released by the White House such as “A Very Beazley Christmas” and “Barney Cam”.
President Lyndon B Johnson’s favourite dog was a terrier mix named Yuki. Johnson’s daughter, Luci, found Yuki at a petrol station in his home state of Texas on Thanksgiving Day in 1966. She gifted him to Johnson who would take Yuki everywhere.
Among the most famous White House dogs is Franklin D Roosevelt’s beloved Scottish Terrier Fala. Fala had a bone brought up on the president’s breakfast tray every morning, and even needed a secretary appointed to him to answer his fan mail. The president had the cake pictured below made especially for Fala’s birthday.
Macaroni was a gift to John F Kennedy’s daughter Caroline from Lyndon B Johnson.
The pony was usually stabled in Virginia but came frequently to the White House, where it was pictured roaming around the grounds. Like other presidential pets, Macaroni became famous, receiving fan mail and even appearing on the cover of Life magazine.
President Lyndon B. Johnson, who served from 1963 to 1969, was another dog lover. He even had the White House doghouse redesigned to be more spacious. Although he cared for six dogs during his presidency, the most famous were the beagles Him and Her.
President Theodore Roosevelt, a well-known naturalist, had a large collection of animals, including a bear, badger, and hyena. President Hoover introduced another unusual pet to the White House; a wild opossum named Billy Possum. The animal was captured by White House policeman BB Snodgrass and placed in a pen that was originally built for Rebecca.