A Celebration of White House Dogs

by on 07/03/11 at 10:37 am

Years ago, our country observed the individual birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington as separate federal holidays. These days, we observe Presidents’ Day in honor of all the men who have served as leaders of the United States, from Washington to Obama. Traditionally schools take part in projects that remember all of those who have served, and if you are a dog lover you might be interested in the number of White House pets who have lived in the best known address in America. Many are remembered through media bytes and books, and some are very closely associated with their owners. Let’s a take a moment to recall some of the Presidents’ best friends:

Fala – Franklin D. Roosevelt: This perky Scottish terrier loved to beg for food, so much that the White House staff had to be reprimanded not to overfeed the pup. Fala traveled with President Roosevelt practically everywhere, and even received so much fan mail that a secretary had to be hired to take care of it.

Checkers – Richard Nixon: Checkers first gained national attention during a speech made by then-Vice Presidential candidate Nixon to clear up his financial situation with the American people. The “Checkers speech” not only helped restore Nixon’s reputation, but may have helped his mate Eisenhower win the election. While Checkers did not live to see Nixon become president, he is nonetheless remembered as much as other Presidential pets.

Millie – George Bush: The senior Bushs’ Springer Spaniel enjoyed literary success during her term at the White House with a book co-authored by the First Lady. Millie also had a litter of puppies while in office, and all were found good homes.

Buddy – Bill Clinton: This beautiful chocolate Labrador Retriever arrived late into the Clinton administration but easily stole the hearts of the American public – with the exception of the Clintons’ cat, Socks. Sadly, Buddy was struck by a car in 2002 and killed.

Bo – Barack Obama: The latest canine resident of the White House is a Portuguese water dog, a gift from the Kennedy family to Obama’s two daughters.

Over the decades, White House pets have caught the attention of people around the world. Dogs especially are known to provide warmth and companionship to their owners, and for our nation’s leaders who have had dogs close by, that is very likely a needed comfort.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on pet supplies and dog supplies.

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