The New President In The Mid-Twentieth Century
Because the White House was not complete until 1800, the tradition begins with John Adams. He brought along two carriage horses (Cleopatra and Caesar) and two dogs (Juno and Satan). Pets were common among the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson had two bear cubs, a gift from Lewis and Clark's westward expedition. Madison and Monroe both brought their wives' pets, a parrot and a spaniel. …show more content…
Anointed the "first dog" with his own caretaker, Laddie Boy had a chair for cabinet meetings. He became the poster child for animal rights awareness and a star in the administration. Calvin Coolidge had a literal zoo at the White House with a bobcat, lion cubs, a wallaby, a hippo and a black bear. President Hoover brought alligators back and campaigned with his dog, King Tut. Through the mid-twentieth century, the tradition continued. Some presidents had only one pet (usually a dog), while others had several - as well as birds and cats and horses. The Kennedy White House had dogs, cats, ponies, birds, hamsters, and rabbits. President Lyndon Johnson was famous for his beagles "Him" and "Her." Richard Nixon described his dog Checkers in a famous speech as "a gift that I'm not going to give back."
Unfortunately, not all pets are able to make the journey to the nation's capital. Some stay back on the farm (like Ronald Reagan's horses). Others are not a good fit for the White House (George W. Bush's cat Ernie was "too wild" and lived with a California family). Despite the restrictions on wilder pets, most Presidents find a way to bring pets