Top Ten Presidential Dog Facts

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February 21, 2011
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Smooged: Notes from a Bracco

The occasional observations from petswelcome.com CEO, Smudge Kingsley


With President’s Day upon us, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of our Presidents and uncover interesting, lesser-known facts about their dogs. After all, a majority–26 of 43 presidents–have had dogs so maybe their relationships with their pooches could offer useful insights into their characters.

Here, then, are the Top 10 Little-Known Presidential Dog Facts for President’s Day:

Sweetlips.

1. It’s a known fact that George Washington named his dogs, Drunkard, Taster, Tipsy, Tipler and Sweetlips. Lesser known is that they were named after his buddies down at the old Chesapeake Baths. Also not generally known: He also had 3 cats named Toasty, Roach and Bong.

Once had a dog hanged.

2. Thomas Jefferson, usually thought of as our most liberal-minded president, actually practiced “tough love” on his pets. He was the first president to require dogs be licensed. He also had a dog hanged (for attacking his sheep). After public outcry, he secretly hired Ben Franklin to invent lethal injections. Franklin failed but, during the clinical trials, he discovered the stump speech.

Quincy's of Hollywood

3. John Quincy Adams didn’t have any dogs but he had pet silkworms. By the time he finished his first walk with them around the White House, his term was over. He did have successful post-presidency, though. Using his favorite pets, he opened the first Quincy’s of Hollywood boutique in Bethesda, selling frilly potato sacks to frumpy ex-first ladies.

Pete ran off with the French Ambassador.

4. Theodore Roosevelt had a Bull Terrier named Pete who almost caused an international scandal when he ripped the pants off the French Ambassador, Jules Jusserand. It took a Gitanes and a stiff shot of cognac to calm the situation, after which the ambassador and Pete eloped to the island of Elba. Lesser known: Roosevelt also had a one-legged rooster named Mr. Salty whose off-the-record comments and hen house debaucheries were largely responsible for jump-starting the Women’s Suffrage Movement.

Only the flatulence remains.

5. Woodrow Wilson had a tobacco-chewing ram named Old Ike. Ike was one of the last farm animals to live at the White House. He was the end of  a long line that included Benjamin Harrison’s goat, Old Whiskers, his cow, Sukey, Taft’s cow Paulie Wayne, and Zachary Taylor’s horse, Old Whitey, to name a few. Old Ike’s passing ended a colorful era of head butting, flatulence and foot-in-mouth disease rarely seen today except at modern political conventions.

Created the FDA.

6. Though his whole administration was considered a dog, President Warren G. Harding also had an Airedale Terrier named Laddie Boy who used to sit in on cabinet meetings. While the other cabinet members were busy being prosecuted for various scandals, Laddie Boy got down to work by creating the Food and Dog Administration, as well as initiating the Equal Rights Amendment for Dogs.  The amendment stipulated that dogs were no longer required to Sit, Stay or Roll Over for their masters. To this day, when you command your dog to do something and he just looks at you with that look and you’re wondering what he’s thinking, he’s actually thinking: “I don’t have to do that. Look it up.”

Did you say, Gulf of Tonkin?

7. When Johnson’s favorite beagle, Him, was mysteriously run over and killed by an FBI truck on the White House grounds, J. Edgar Hoover gave Johnson another beagle that Johnson named J. Edgar. Besides needing to be plugged in, J. Edgar was often heard asking Johnson to “Please speak louder…”

"Oh, Dick, I love this collar. Where did you get it?"

8. It’s well-known that Richard Nixon made a famous speech in which he said he was not going to give back Checkers, a Cocker Spaniel that was a gift to his daughters. Strangely, after the speech, Checkers was never seen again. Or was he?

Blind leading the President to another foreign policy meeting.

9. I’ll bet you didn’t know that Ronald Reagan had a dog named Blind.

Bo with with Pong ball.

10. It’s well-known that President Obama’s dog Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog, was given to him by the late Senator Edward Kennedy. In addition to being a great swimmer, Bo can pass sweeping social legislation, find hot babes in a Nantucket fog, and has yet to be beaten in a game of Fuzzy Duck or Beer Pong.

*Please note that these observations do not reflect the political or corporate beliefs of petswelcome.com. We are a company run by dogs and cats and therefore have no political leanings or preferences. We say whatever is on our mind at the time. We say them to get  treats.

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