Monday, February 16, 2015

Presidential pooches

Many US presidents have had dogs. George Washington had American Staghounds and Coonhounds, Ulysses S. Grant had a Newfoundland, and Abraham Lincoln had two dogs and two cats. He allegedly once remarked that his cat Dixie was smarter than the whole cabinet.  Today, the Obama family includes two Portuguese Waterdogs, Bo and Sunny. 

Portuguese Water Dog
The Portuguese Water Dog is a working dog originally developed to help fishermen. The dogs would herd fish into nets, retrieve broken nets, and act as couriers between ships and shore. They're known for being loyal, active, and athletic. They have a water proof coat and are considered good for people with allergies.

Other well-known presidential dogs include Fala, a Scottish Terrier that belonged to Franklin D. Roosevelt. Rumors have it that Fala was left behind on a visit to the Aleutian Islands, and that Roosevelt sent ships back to get her.

This splurge with taxpayers' money outraged the public, but he turned it to his favor with a speech. "You can criticize me, my wife, and my family, but you can't criticize my little dog. He's Scotch and all these allegations about spending all his money has made his little soul furious." This speech came to be known as the Fala Speech, and is believed to help secure his re-election.

Lyndon B. Johnson had less luck with his pets. Someone snapped a photo of him picking up his Beagles by the ears. This turned into a scandal that changed his image.

Other pets have also been popular amongst the residents of the White House. Theodore Roosevelt probably had the largest menagerie, and allegedly kept everything from from a small bear to a garter snake. Andrew Johnson would feed a family of white mice that played in his room.

If you were president, what pet would you have?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

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