I was talking to my friend H last night, and in the course of a conversation about Trump, he said, “I bet he never had a puppy …” Which reminded me of the fact that when Trump first moved into the White House on January 20th, the media made much of the fact that he is the first president since William McKinley who did not bring a canine friend with him. I tried to find an answer to H’s question as to whether Trump had ever had a pet, puppy or otherwise, and could not find a definitive answer. However, as most of my journeys do, it took me down other paths, and I did find some interesting facts about other presidential pets that I thought would make a fun post!
Even though President McKinley did not have a dog, he did have pets, including roosters and a Mexican parrot named “Washington Post”. And while Andrew Johnson did not bring any of his own pets to the White House, it is said that he had a habit of feeding mice he saw running around the office! I guess this was before the days of Terminix, Orkin and Critter-Be-Gone.
Martin van Buren was given two tiger cubs by the Sultan of Oman. Van Buren fully intended to keep the cubs, but under pressure from Congress, was forced to donate them to the zoo. Several presidents were partial to horses, including Andrew Jackson who had a horse named ‘Sam Patch’, two racing fillies, Lady Nashville and Bolivia, and also a parrot aptly named Poll, who was taught to swear like a sailor!
John Tyler had a canary … he died when the family tried to pair him with a mate … the mate turned out to be another male. I’m unclear why that killed poor Johnny Ty. Tyler’s horse, General, also died while Tyler was in office, and he had him buried on his estate with a headstone reading, “Here lies the body of my good horse ‘The General.’ For twenty years he bore me around the circuit of my practice, and in all that time he never made a blunder. Would that his master could say the same! John Tyler.” I like that … shows kindness and humility.
Herbert Hoover had no less than eleven pets while in the White House, perhaps the most exotic being a pair of alligators belonging to his son Allen. But the president with, I think, the most pets during his tenure was John F. Kennedy, who had 21 pets during his too-short term. These included a mixed breed dog, Pushinka, that was given to him by Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev. He also had varied and sundried dogs, cats, canaries, bunnies and hamsters. Makes sense, since he had two young children at the time.
I had no idea until I went on this mission to find an answer that there is an online Presidential Pet Museum chock full of interesting trivia about past presidents and their pets. It was a fun little jaunt, but in my original mission to discover whether Donald Trump ever had a puppy, I failed. So, H … I am sorry. My best guess is that either he never had a pet, or else if he did, he probably tormented it until it died. I once had neighbors whose young son was a bully in every sense of the word, and they bought him numerous pets, each of which died within a very short time from his abuse.
Though I failed in my mission, I DID come across an article in The Washington Post from April, 2015, titled: Want to raise empathetic kids? Get them a dog. I do suspect there is a connection between growing up with pets and being a decent human, but that is a topic for some other time, perhaps.
Trump, by the way, almost did have a dog to bring to the White House. A Floridian named Lois Pope had offered Trump a 9-week-old Goldendoodle (golden retriever/poodle designer hybrid) puppy named Patton, but at the last minute she decided against it and kept the puppy. I am certain that Patton has a better home with her, and quite possibly would not have survived the first week in the White House!