There have been dogs in the White House as long as there have been presidents in it. Thirty of the forty-five presidents have had dogs—from George Washington to Barack Obama. In honor of National Dogs in Politics Day (September 23rd), our team at Anasazi Animal Clinic thought it would be fun to take a moment to remember some of these four-legged paw-liticians.
George Washington was an avid fox hunter and had more than 20 dogs during his time as president (although he didn’t live in the White House). Washington actually created an entirely new dog breed that still exists today—the American Foxhound! He wanted a dog that was fast and smart with a strong sense of smell, so he cross-bred his Black and Tan Coonhounds with French Hounds. Washington had many dogs, but his favorites were Sweet Lips, Tipsy, Tipler, Cloe, Drunkard, and Vulcann.
Lincoln rescued Fido, a stray yellow mutt, from his hometown of Springfield. Fido had a tough time adjusting to life in the White House so Lincoln sent Fido to live with family friends. An avid dog lover, he made sure that his furry friend would be well looked after. According to the Presidential Pet Museum he stipulated the following rules for his friends taking care of Fido: “Fido was never to be tied up outdoors alone, never to be scolded for coming into the house with muddy paws, allowed to come indoors whenever he scratched at the door, and allowed to wander freely about the table as the family dined.” Lincoln even sent Fido with a custom-made sofa from the White House to make him feel as comfortable as possible.
Roosevelt had many dogs—one of his favorites was a St. Bernard named Rollo. The St. Bernard was known for his love of children, always putting up with their rough games and protecting them as fiercely as the secret service. Sailor Boy was another beloved dog of Roosevelt’s. Sailor Boy was a Chesapeake Bay dog who “had a masterful temperament and a strong sense of both dignity and duty. He would never let the other dogs fight, and he himself never fought unless circumstances imperatively demanded it…“
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Teddy wasn’t the only Roosevelt with a love for dogs—Franklin D. Roosevelt had eight dogs while serving in the White House. Fala, a Scottish terrier, was by far the most well-known of these political pooches. His full name was ‘Murray the Outlaw of Falahill’ after a Scottish ancestor, but this got shortened to Fala. He was so popular that he actually had his own secretary to sort his fan mail!
Fala was Roosevelt’s close companion until he died and he even attended the president’s funeral, according to the FDR Library & Museum. Today, you can visit a statue of Fala and FDR at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington D.C.—the first and only one of its kind!
George H.W. Bush
Millie was an English springer spaniel and one of the most famous presidential pups of all. Her memoir, Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush, reached the top of the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list in 1992. It also spent 23 weeks on Publishers Weekly’s hardcover bestseller list. The book gives a dog’s perspective on life in the White House. The “author’s” proceeds benefited the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. One of Millie’s puppies also became a Bush family pet.
The most recent dogs in the White House were Sunny and Bo, both Portuguese Water Dogs. President Obama promised his two daughters that he would get them a dog if he won the presidential election of 2008, and so Bo joined the family. After winning a second term in 2012, Sunny also became a beloved member of the Obama family.
Like FDR’s dog Fala, Bo travelled the world with the first family on Air Force One and met many world leaders. He joined Michelle Obama at her children’s book readings, stealing the show and winning the hearts of the children.
The Presidential Treatment
There haven’t only been dogs in the White House. Believe it or not there have been some unique pets too, including a badger, a black bear, racoon, an alligator, a cow, a goat, an opossum, bald eagles, and an elephant! Any guesses as to what pet might be next?
Whether you’re a longtime client of ours or you’re looking for a vet in Gilbert, give us a call to schedule your fur baby’s next appointment. Here at Anasazi Animal Clinic, we believe that all of your pets deserve to be treated like presidential pooches!