White House animals

Friday, February 24, 2012

I watched the televised Westminster Dog Show last week and I enjoyed the competitions.

Later it got me to thinking about dogs and other animals that gained recognition because they lived in the White House.

Presently the White House First Dog is Bo, a male Portuguese water dog. Bo is mostly black in color with white boots -- a striking dog. Bo is often photographed on the White House lawn or inside the White House with President Obama or First Lady Michelle.

Did you know that President William Taft brought a cow to the White House in the 1800s?

President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) brought Old Ike, his favorite pet, to the White House. Ike was a tobacco chewing ram. Old Ike and a few sheep were allowed to graze the White House lawn. There were also chickens and cats.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's favorite pet was Fala, a black Scottish terrier. Fala was Roosevelt's constant companion and traveled with the president on trips by train, car or boat. Fala was often photographed with his master.

In addition to Fala, there were six other dogs owned by the president, including a Great Dane named President. Fala died April 5, 1952, and was buried in the Rose Garden near Roosevelt. A statue of Fala stands next to the one of his master at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Millie, the dog belonging to President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush, was the only dog to write a book. Millie's Book was on the bestseller list for several months. Millie, a Springer spaniel, had puppies while President Bush was in office and all the puppies were given to good homes. Ranger, one of Millie's pups, also resided at the White House.

President George Bush had Spot, a Springer spaniel, born in the White House in 1989 to his father's Millie. Also there was Barney, a Scottish terrier, and India the cat. In 2004 the president gave his wife Laura a Scottish terrier puppy named Miss Beazley.

George Washington had Polly the parrot, 36 hounds and horses while he was in the White House.

Abraham Lincoln had Jack the turkey, goats named Nanny and Nanko, ponies, cats, dogs, pigs and a white rabbit.

Dwight D. Eisenhower had Heidi, a Weimaraner.

President Bill Clinton and Hillary owned Socks the cat and Buddy, a chocolate Labrador retriever.

John Quincy Adams had an alligator and silkworms.

Andrew Johnson had white mice.

Martin Van Buren had two tiger cubs.

President Theodore Roosevelt had a menagerie which included Sailor Boy, a Chesapeake Bay retriever, and four other dogs, cats, Josiah the badger, a pony, Eli the Macaw, a rat, garter snakes 12 horses, five bears, five guinea pigs, snakes, lizards, roosters, an owl, a flying squirrel, a raccoon, a coyote, a lion, a hyena and a zebra.

Harry S. Truman had Feller "the unwanted dog," which was adopted by Truman's personal physician. Truman's daughter, Margaret, owned Mike, an Irish setter. President Truman once said, "If you want a friend in the White House, get a dog."

William McKinley had a parrot, an Angora cat and her kittens.

Warren Harding had Laddie Boy, an Airedale, and Old Boy, a bulldog, and canaries.

John F. Kennedy had ponies named Macaroni, Tex and Leprechaun, plus Sardar the horse, a cat, a canary, two parakeets, hamsters and Charlie, a Welsh terrier.

President Ronald Reagan had Rex, a King Charles spaniel, and Lucky, a sheepdog.

Jimmy Carter had Grits the dog and a Siamese cat.

President Thomas Jefferson had a pet mockingbird named "Dick?" The bird often rode on Jefferson's shoulder.

The above is only a partial list of all the presidential pets. Three U.S. presidents had no pets at all.

Since we are observing Presidents Day this week, I thought I'd offer a trivia quiz about our past presidents.

Can you name the tallest president?

It was Lyndon Johnson, who stood a towering six feet four.

The shortest?

That was James Madison, who was one foot shorter than Johnson.

Who was the only president to have a beard?

That was Abe Lincoln.

Which president starred in Hollywood movies before he became president?

Ronald Reagan.

Which president had polio as an adult?

That was Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Who was our only bachelor president?

James Buchanan, the 15th president, never married. His niece served as First Lady.

Who were the two presidents to be impeached?

They were Andrew Johnson, 17th president, and Bill Clinton, 42nd president. Neither was convicted. They were acquitted by the Senate.

Richard Milhous Nixon was not impeached. He resigned before he could be impeached. He was the only president to resign from office.

Which president had the most children?

John Tyler had 15 children by two wives.

Who was the first president to be married in the White House?

That would be Grover Cleveland, who married 21-year-old Frances Folsom. He was also the first president to have a child born in the White House.

Who was a peanut farmer?

Jimmy Carter.

Which president "could not tell a lie?"

George Washington