With Presidents Day coming up, all of us at Petswelcome thought it would be a good idea to update our Top Ten Presidential Dog Facts. With the impeachment just finished, the debacle in the Iowa caucuses still unraveling, and all the bad political news that’s making headlines, it’s the perfect time to focus on (hu)man’s best friend and restore some sanity to our political and historical discourse.
Also, being a dog myself, it gives me great pleasure to paw through our illustrious canine history and dig up some interesting, but lesser-known facts about my ancestors’ relationships with American presidents. After all, a majority—30 of 45—have had dogs and I’m guessing their relationship with their pooches could offer some useful insights into their characters.
Petswelcome’s Top Ten Presidential Dog Facts*:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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…”
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?
9. Jimmy Carter had a dog named Grits, which makes sense. Lesser known is the name of his cat: Misty Malarky Yin Yang. We think this is probably the weirdest of our Top Ten Presidential Dog Facts. Republicans did, too. Upon hearing the name, they immediately accused Carter of listening to too many Donovan records and holding “acid” parties in his brother Billy’s pick-up. When those charges we’re debunked, it was revealed to be acute ergot poisoning whose symptoms include hallucinations, the Salem witch trials, and naming your cat Misty Malarky Yin Yang.
10. I’ll bet you didn’t know that Ronald Reagan had a dog named Blind.
11. 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.
12. President Trump famously doesn’t have a dog. Some have accused him of being anti-canine, especially because he often calls many of his enemies “dogs.” However, The Washington Post reports that between 2010 and 2015, Trump invited Westminster Dog Show winners to his office at Trump Tower for a meet and greet and showed great affection for the recently crowned canines. It was later discovered that, after private photo shoots with the dogs, he was returning stuffed look-alikes to their handlers so he could make a “nice coat” for Melania. Trump later dismissed the accusation as “fake news obviously written by a dog.” Okay. We’ll admit it: Right on both counts.
*Please note that these observations have been revised and expanded to 12. They 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.