America’s “first pets” are diverse

When the U.S. President visited the main White House, two German shepherds also lived with him in the power center of the country. Except for Trump, American presidents basically have a tradition of keeping pets in the White House. Jennifer Pickens, author of the book “White House Pets,” called pets “ambassadors” of the White House. Costello, a scholar of the White House Historical Society, believes that the “first pet” reflects the character of its owner and sometimes plays an important role in shaping the image of the government. Historically, the animals that live in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC can be described as diverse.

Among the many White House pets, dogs are undoubtedly the favorite of American presidents. The 30th President of the United States, Coolidge, even stated that people who don’t like dogs and don’t own dogs are not worthy of living in the White House. Franklin Roosevelt’s pet dog Farah may be one of the most famous pet dogs in the White House. Its full name is “Morry the Outlaw of Farahill”, the nickname of Roosevelt, a Scottish ancestor. Roosevelt himself made birthday cakes for his pet dogs. It is reported that in 1944, Roosevelt accidentally left Farah on a trip to the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, and then sent a naval destroyer to pick him up. This move caused public dissatisfaction. Roosevelt later denied this statement and warned his opponents not to provoke his dog. At the Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, DC, the sculptor specially created the lying Farah next to the Roosevelt statue (pictured).

Ford, the 38th President of the United States, walked his dog in pajamas in the middle of the night. At that time, the golden retriever named “Freedom” was about to give birth. Ford’s wife Betty said that at 3 o’clock in the morning one day, Liberty began to lick Ford’s face and wanted to go out for “convenience”. So Ford dutifully took it to the South Lawn of the White House. But when Ford returned with freedom, the elevator was closed, and they finally returned to the bedroom with the help of the Secret Service staff.

Pets humanize the position of President of the United States and help people establish contact with pet owners. The 31st President of the United States, Hoover, improved his stiff image by posting a photo of holding a German Shepherd. In 2019, Trump stated that he did not have time to keep dogs, and felt that keeping dogs for political reasons was “hypocritical.” However, his rival Biden mentioned his pet dog during the campaign. Biden’s German Shepherds are called “Champ” and “Major”. In October last year, Biden posted on social media, stating that “With major incentives, anything unsatisfactory on the road to the campaign can be “barked”. The term “major” also means major, and it describes dog barking The pronunciation of “ruff” is similar to that of “rough”.

Many White House pets have a large number of fans in the private sector. Obama’s Portuguese water dog, Abo, has white chest and front paws, while the other puppy, Sunshine, “is not worthy of its name”, not “sunshine”, but black all over. They are very popular and are often asked by fans to take group photos. Michelle, the former first lady of the United States, received a memo. The memo asked her to provide the schedule for the two dogs, and also asked Michelle to approve them to “attend the meeting.” During Clinton’s presidency of the United States, he raised a chocolate labrador named Buddy, and a cat named Sock. The two pets often fight hard and are called “dead rivals”.

In addition to dogs, there are actually many types of “first pets” in the United States. In “The White House Pets,” Pickens introduced that Roosevelt kept dozens of animals, including one-legged roosters, snakes, guinea pigs, Gengluo rats, and horses. Speaking of the most peculiar pet of the White House, Rebecca the raccoon may be “on top.” It was a Thanksgiving meal given to Coolidge by residents of Mississippi in 1926. The former president of the United States who loves animals said that he had never and would never eat raccoons, so he decided to keep it as a pet and named it Rebecca.

Caroline, the daughter of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, has a pony named macaroni, one of the “most photogenic” pets in the history of the White House. Macaroni is a pet given to Caroline by Lyndon Johnson, Kennedy’s later successor. It appeared on the cover of Life magazine with Caroline and received thousands of letters from fans.

For leaders of various countries, pets are not only friends in life, but may also play a role in diplomacy. French general Lafayette, who fought alongside George Washington, the founding father of the United States, visited the White House in 1825 and gave an alligator to the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams. Adams kept it in a bathroom in the East Wing of the White House, and likes to use it to scare visitors. Martin Van Buren, who was elected President of the United States in 1836, received two little tigers from the Sultan of Oman. Van Buren liked this gift very much and fought Congress in order to keep them in the White House. Congress believes that these cubs are given to the United States, not Van Buren personally, so Congress should decide what to do with them. Van Buren said that these two little tigers were given to him personally, and he wanted to keep them. Congress eventually won the dispute, and the two cubs were sent to the National Zoo in Washington.

Although pets can bring more life to the White House, which is filled with tension from time to time, they can sometimes cause diplomatic disputes. At the end of 1991, when Barbara and Jenna, the twin daughters of former US President Bush Jr., were 10 years old, the family raised a black kitten named India. After Barbara and Jenna went to college, India stayed with the Bush couple. In January 2001, George W. Bush assumed the presidency of the United States, and India moved with him from Texas to the White House. However, the name of Bush’s pet caused dissatisfaction among some people in India. In July 2004, protesters in Trivandrum, Kerala, southern India condemned the cat’s name as an insult to India. They burned a portrait of Bush Jr. in protest. However, Bush did not change the name of his pet cat. Allegedly, the little black cat was named after Barbara based on the nickname El Indio, a baseball player Rubin Hiera at the time. In 2009, India died in the White House. The spokesperson of the then first lady of the United States stated in a press release that the president’s family was deeply saddened by the death of India, and that it was “the beloved member of the Bush family in the past 20 years.”