Pets Give Presidents A Softer Side

Studies show that people who own pets can live longer and a more enjoyable life.  While my former job was stressful, at times, it’s nothing compared to the weight of the world that the Commander-in-Chief, the President of the United States, carries on his shoulder (and her shoulders, Hillary, I’m talking to you in 2016).

This is Bo, a four-year-old Portuguese Water Dog, the First Dog of the United States, with the Obamas on a stroll.

Bo, I see that you look rather comfy there on the White House lawn.  I hope American voters extend your lease on that property for another four years. 🙂

Bo seems like a rather safe name for a presidential pet.  However, there are a couple of more scandalous or eyebrow-raising names.  How about George Washington’s dog, “Sweet Lips”; John Adam’s dog, “Satan”, and Rutherford B. Hayes’ cat, “Miss Pussy”!

President Washington must have been a hoot because in addition to “Sweet Lips”, he also had coonhounds named, “Drunkard”, “Taster”, “Tipler”, and “Tipsy”.  Do you think he liked his grown-up beverages???

Far from those more scandalous pet names, there are the ones that make you think that some presidents could have used more creativity.  Lyndon Johnson had beagles named “Him” and “Her”!

Long before Republican presidential wannabe Mitt Romney was blasted for putting his dog in a car top carrier 30 years ago on a road trip to Canada, President Lyndon Johnson irritated pet groups across the country for this picture when he lifted “Him”, one of his Beagles, off the ground by his ears!  The protests were more bark than bite since he talked himself out of it — like Romney.

And, Jimmy Carter had a border collie named “Grits”.  You know that he’s from the South!

By far, my favorite presidential pet (and yes, I lack objectivity here) is Liberty, President Gerald Ford’s golden retriever.  Liberty, who was born in February 1974, gave birth to a litter of puppies in the fall of 1975 and the president’s family kept one of them, “Misty”.

I’m sure they’re all up in “puppy heaven” playing with Miss ABBA.

But, President Ford was not the only president that owned a golden retriever.  President Ronald Reagan had a golden named “Victory” and Theodore Roosevelt had a Chesapeake Bay Retriever named “Sailor Boy”.

And, I’m sure somewhere along the line, a president may have had a real “sailor boy”.  Oh, I’m just kidding.  Sorta.

Joking aside, before Miss ABBA, I had Keshia, a chow chow from 1986-1998.  President Calvin Coolidge had two chow chows, “Tiny Tim” and “Blackberry”.

But, not all of the presidential pets were as domesticated and common as dogs and cats.  President Woodrow Wilson kept sheep at the White House to help maintain the lawn.

Thomas Jefferson had two bear cubs.

John Quincy Adams was given an American alligator that lived at the White House for several months and Herbert Hoover’s son had two crocodiles that roamed the lawns.

Abraham Lincoln had a turkey he named “Jack” and John F. Kennedy had a rabbit named “Zsa Zsa”.

However, one of the most eccentric pet owners (or we might as well call him a “zookeeper”) was President Calvin Coolidge.  In addition to the aforementioned chow chows, it’s reported that he had 26 pets including a bear, a bobcat, a donkey, lion cubs, a pygmy hippo, two raccoons (Rebecca & Horace) and a wallaby.

If the Obamas want to push the envelope of pet owning in the White House, may I suggest the “Wild Mekong”?

It’s a psychedelic gecko with bright orange legs, a yellow neck, and a blue-gray body with yellow bars on its bright orange sides.  This creature was recently discovered on an island in southern Vietnam.

Okay, while it isn’t American made, it’s pretty “far out”.

Vote Tuesday!

Anthony

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