Pets of the White House
Pets have been a staple in the White House in almost every presidential administration. It’s no surprise that presidents have family pets, because pets can bring comfort to individuals during some of their most challenging and stressful moments.
Below are a few of the famous paws that have walked the west wing.
Bo & Sunny Obama
President Obama made a promise to his daughters, Sasha and Malia, that should he win, he would get them a puppy. The Obama’s ultimately welcomed Bo (named after Bo Diddley), a Portuguese water dog into their family in 2009. They selected a Portuguese water dog because of Malia’s allergies. Because of their fleecy coat and minimally shedding, the Portuguese Water Dog is considered a hypoallergenic dog breed. In 2013, Bo was joined by Sunny, a female of the same breed.
Spot “Spotty” Fetcher, Barney, Miss Beazley, and India “Willie”
George W. and Laura Bush are avid animal lovers. During George W’s administration several pets lived with them at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Spotty was a female English Springer Spinel and a puppy of Millie (George H.W. Bush’s dog) and was named after Baseball player Scott Fletcher. In addition to Spotty, was the Scottish terriers Barney and Miss Beazley (a 2005 birthday gift to Laura from George) and India “Willie”, a black cat that lived with the Bush family for almost two decades.
Socks & Buddy Clinton
Socks, a black and white domestic short-haired cat was a pet for the Clinton family during the early years of the administration. He was adopted by the Clintons in 1991 and a carton version of Socks hosed the children’s version of the White House website. However, in 1997 the Clintons welcomed Buddy, a Labrador Retriever. Hillary Clinton stated that Socks, “despised Buddy from first sight, instantly and forever.” Bill Clinton said, “I did better with the Palestinians and the Israelis than I’ve done with Socks and Buddy.”
Abraham Lincoln had a yellow mixed breed dog named Fido. He was a favorite of Lincoln and his younger sons Willie and Tad. It’s rumored that he would wait outside the barber shop for Lincoln and carry a parcel in his mouth when going home with Lincoln. The name “Fido” became a generic name for a dog because of Lincoln’s famous dog. Unfortunately, Fido was assassinated by a drunk shortly after Lincoln’s assassination.
Rebecca the Raccoon
Rebecca was a raccoon that was kept as a pet by President Calvin Coolidge and First Lady Grace Coolidge. Rebecca was originally sent to the White House to be served for the 1926 Thanksgiving Dinner. However, the Coolidges decided to keep Rebecca as a pet. Rebecca was let loose in the White House and would walk around outside on a leash. She was known to be very mischievous and would open cabinets, unpot plants, and unscrew lightbulbs. At the end of the president’s term in 1929, Rebecca was donated to the zoological quarters in Rock Creek Park (now the National Zoo) in Washington, DC.