Election Day Special: Pets of the White House

Martin Van Buren was given a pair of tiger cubs as a gift!

While this presidential election is full of serious issues and concerns for the future of our country, I thought I could bring a little lightness to the politics with a fairly non-controversial issue…  As Americans, we sometimes like to distract ourselves with the little things involving the current president like hobbies, the first lady’s fashion, or the pets that they might bring to the White House.  Here are some interesting facts about the pets who have found a home in the White House throughout history…

  • The second president of the United Dates, John Adams, was the first to move into the White House. He had the White House stables built for his favorite horse, Cleopatra.  The first lady, Abigail, brought her two dogs, Juno and Satan (What a name!), to live in the White House with them.
  • The sixth president, John Quincy Adams,  definitely had a strange pet, an alligator given to him by Marquis de Lafayette, a general who served under George Washington in the American Revolution.  He must have set the trend because the son of the thirty-first president, Herbert Hoover, also had a pair of alligators!
  • The eighth president, Martin Van Buren, had a pair of tiger cubs given to him by the Sultan of Oman.  Their stay at the White House may have been minimal as Congress convinced the president to send them to the zoo.
  • The twelfth president, Zachary Taylor, learned his lesson in breeding by unknowingly pairing his male canary with another male, resulting in his canary’s death.  His wartime horse was Old Whitey, and supposedly many visitors to the White House would pull a hair or two from Old Whitey’s tail as a souvenir.
  • Andrew Johnson was the seventeenth president and had some pesky pets to keep him company…  Supposedly, he left flour out at night for a family of mice playing in his room during the days of his impeachment.
  • Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth president of the United States, probably had the most animals in the White House.  Included in the zoo of animals were six dogs, a bobcat, a goose, a donkey, a cat, two lion cubs, an antelope,  a wallaby, and a pygmy hippopotamus.
  • Our forty-first president, George (not W) Bush, had the first pet to write a book while in office.  The Bush’s dog Millie not only wrote Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush while at the White House, but she also gave birth to a litter of pups there! What a busy mama!

The family of our current president, Barack Obama, chose their hypoallergenic, four-year-old Portuguese Water Dog, Bo, because of their daughter Malia’s allergies.  Will Bo be celebrating his eighth birthday in the White House or elsewhere?  You will decide this important issue…  So get out and exercise your right to vote, America!!!

written by Maria, “Mama Dingo”

Visit http://www.presidentialpetmuseum.com/whitehousepets-1.htm to read about more presidential pets!

Written on Monday, November 5th, 2012 at 09:13PM

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