Monday, June 3, 2013

First Pets

Ever since getting a dog, Animal Planet has become one of our favorite channels.  Not so long ago, there was a special on Presidential Pets.

It seems the White House isn't complete without a dog to help deflect unwanted attention.  Barack Obama, who apparently never owned a dog before, found himself having to keep a promise to his daughters when he won the 2008 election, and so we have the most recent entry to the canine hall of fame, Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog, that came from the same litter as one of Ted Kennedy's prized "Porties."

Everyone has their favorite "DOTUS" or "First Dog."  I particularly enjoyed the segment on LBJ's favorite pooch, Yuki, who often stole the show at White House meetings and gatherings, especially when the two decided to do a sing-a-long.

Dogs haven't been the only White House pets.  Socks, the Clinton's cat, is probably the most famous feline to grace the presidential palace, although he too found himself upstaged by a chocolate lab in the Bill Clinton's second term.  One has to wonder how the two got along.

My favorite story is that of Alice Roosevelt's pet grass snake named "Emily Spinach."  According to Edmund Morris, Alice took this snake pretty much everywhere she went and would have it coiling around her wrist at White House functions, distracting guests.  The Theodore Roosevelt White House probably had the greatest menagerie of all, also including a pet rabbit, pig, lizard, badger and even a small bear named "Jonathan Edwards."  Anything to please his kids.


  1. I think it's Animal Planet that also produced two documentaries on mermaids, so take anything they show with a double dose of salt! (But congrats on the dog.)

  2. Animal Planet is great, especially when it comes to dogs and cats. Haven't seen the episode on mermaids though. Sounds like something Nat's Geo would do these days ; )