Due to an overwhelming lack of response from our reader we have decided to present this painfully researched period piece. Hopefully by presenting these leaders as dog lovers we might rebuff certain detractions and show these men as everyday people not just icons lost in the dog hair and slobberings of history.

Since 1782 when George Washington took his oath of office exhorting Congress the “roll over now”, dogs have been a graceful, pleasant complement to the Presidency. A dog or two around the White House was considered “American homey” or at least some indication that someone might come to the door when the bell was rung.

Samuel Adams spent the entire revolution demonizing leash laws until he achieved power. Then he delivered rousing speeches calling for law and order and a stringent leash law to be applied to all the newly freed colonies.

Take Thomas Jefferson. He didn’t care much for dogs at all but kept a pack of 30 in the carriage house in case he saw a fox or his ideological nemesis, Alexander Hamilton. Several of his children kept dogs until they began tearing up the master’s Paris-made perukes and were banished to the servant’s quarters.

Martin Van Buren is known to have bred Yorkies in an attempt to placate Buckingham Palace during the Uruguayan Civil War. Van Buren, a Dutchman, entertains Charles Darwin and his three Border Collies at the White House, despite the British naturalist’s refusal to apply Origins of the Species to the Congress.

Millard Fillmore, voted Best Dressed Commander if Chief in 1851, preferred feeding the capital’s wandering mongrels than allowing a dog to reside at the White House. His sister-in-law’s first cousin, Alberta, is credited with inventing the doggie sweater following Fillmore’s last public appearance in 1854.

US Grant kept three Irish wolfhounds and a keg of brandy with him at all times after the Battle of the Wilderness. “They keep me mellow,” he liked to say. Friends attributed Grant’s chronic puppy breath to his close association with the canines.

Grover Cleveland was indicted in 1891 for attempting to misrepresent yet another paternal suit by presenting a litter of warm, fuzzy puppies to the legal gallery. The jury was then asked to pick out the father from an assembled pack of tail-waggers in the courtroom. Cleveland’s repeated “Look at the cute little puppies” was enough to get the charges dropped to improper passing and barking at the moon. During the lame duck days of his presidency Cleveland became very picky about what dogs were around saying that some of them made him look fat.

Teddy Roosevelt accidently shot “Puffy” his wife’s small poodle while planning the preliminary stages of the attack on San Juan Hill, aka the whiskey cabinet in his New York mansion. Due to the toughness exhibited by the little dog after the shooting, Roosevelt brought him on brief military maneuvers to Cuba in 1900. Puffy is credited with turning around a Spanish frontal assault and disabling a counter attack the next morning. He retired as a full colonel in 1901.

Franklin D Roosevelt once tried to sneak his German shepherd, Benito, into a New York Central coach saying that he was blind and the dog was a service animal. Unfortunately the President was recognized and both he and his dog were thrown off the train. The next day Hitler went into Poland.

Herbert Hoover spent over 40 years trying to decide on what type of dog he should like adopt. He died dog less some ten years later. His widow then went on to acquire 17 dogs from a Maryland shelter and lived with them until her death in 1946. None were named after Calvin Coolidge.

Lyndon Baines Johnson picked up his beagles by the ears, offending uninformed dog lovers throughout the nation. Johnson insisted that the dogs enjoyed the exercise while insisting the victory was “right around the corner” in Southeast Asia. His book “Dog Gymnastics or Diplomatic Shortcomings” was a failure since potential readers could not distinguish between references to Lady Bird and seasonal shedding. When it comes to paper training and doggie treats it all gets lost in the translation.LBJ& DOG

Richard Nixon applied the classic “How could I be a crook when I have this little dog with me?” Checkers Speech in the 50s, when suspected of illegal behavior while Vice President. Soon after Watergate Nixon had asked to see Checkers, only to be informed that the dog had died in 1964. His retort: “Now they won’t have Checkers to kick around anymore.” Nixon tried hosting other pets such as lizards and turtles but they always bit him.

Jimmy Carter did not have a dog in Georgia because he was afraid it would eat all of his peanuts. When he arrived in Washington in 1976 it was apparent that he had better get a large watchdog if he wanted to survive the next four years in the crime-ridden city. However the real protector of the house was a 25-pound, wide-eyed Persian cat given to Carter by the Shah of Iran in 1978. Sadly the cat drowned while on a trip to the Canal Zone after Carter’s Presidency.

Ronald Regan is said to have preferred horses to dogs. He kept three mutts though named Rin Tin Tin, Lassie and Old Yeller, cleverly commemorating great canine stars in the moving pictures. Nancy wouldn’t let him bring the dogs when he was riding or the horses when he walked the dogs because she was concerned he would confuse the two species. The Great Communicator never got around to training his charges and they wandered the Executive Mansion aimlessly looking for bit parts.

Bill Clinton could never find the perfect companion, one that that played the sax and smoked cigars. Too busy being President to have a dog around. Got a pooch for Chelsea but the White House gardener was plagued with walking the mutt, since Chelsea was too busy trying to get into Stanford. When Bill did succeed in finding the right dog it peed on the floor and he took it back.

George H. Bush. Is Millie really an appropriate name for the dog of the leader of the Free World?

Barack Obama and his family have a two Portuguese Water Dogs named Bo and Sunny. Many in the Republican House continue to insist that Bo is a Muslim-socialist and has no birth certificate, although country of origin has been documented. The fact that the second dog, Sunny, is of the same exotic breed, they say, is further indication of Emperor Obama’s arrogance. FOX news inaccurately reported that the pet attacked the mailman when in fact it bit Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell in the same afternoon, much to the delight of Malia and Sasha, the President’s daughters.

Filed Under: Reflections on Disorder


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