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Top 10 Presidential Pets in U.S. History

Top 10 Presidential Pets in U.S. History
  1. George Washington And His Beloved Horse, Nelson

Did you know that America’s first president was also an avid horseman? 

George Washington loved animals and is said to have had a special bond with his horse, Nelson.

In fact, when Washington died, Nelson was so distraught that he refused to eat or drink for days.

Nelson was a gift to Washington from Colonel John Banister, and was named after Lord Horatio Nelson, a British naval hero who had recently died in battle at the time.

Nelson was a very large horse, standing at 17 hands (over 5 feet tall at the shoulder), and was said to be both incredibly strong and fast. 

In fact, on one occasion, there are reports that Washington rode Nelson 40 miles in just over 4 hours!

Washington kept Nelson at his home in Mount Vernon, Virginia. 

The two of them would often go on rides together around the estate. 

On one such ride, they encountered a group of deer, and Nelson is said to have chased them for over a mile!

2. Calvin Coolidge And His Raccoon, Rebecca

Rebecca was a pet raccoon owned by President Calvin Coolidge and his wife, Grace. 

The Coolidges found her near their summer home in Vermont and took her in, raising her as a member of their family. 

Although she was technically classified as a farm animal, Rebecca enjoyed the same privileges as the family’s other pets, such as being allowed to roam freely inside the White House when the Coolidges were away! 

Rebecca quickly became a media sensation, and her antics were often reported in newspapers across the country. 

In spite of her fame, she always remained a loyal friend to the Coolidges and remained a welcome member of their family for the rest of her life.

3. Franklin D. Roosevelt And His Scottish Terrier, Fala

Fala was a Scottish Terrier owned by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor. 

Fala became one of the most famous dogs in American history, and was so beloved by the public that when rumors spread that Roosevelt had ordered him to be put down after he got lost during a trip, he received over 10,000 letters from people expressing their outrage. 

In reality, Roosevelt had simply asked his staff to find Fala and bring him home safely. 

The two were inseparable until Roosevelt passed away in 1945. 

After that, Fala lived with Eleanor at her home in New York until he passed away in 1952. 

He was buried next to Roosevelt at his presidential library in Hyde Park, New York.

4. John F Kennedy And His Welsh Corgi, Pushinka

Former U.S. President John F. Kennedy was a keen dog lover, owning a Welsh corgi named Pushinka. 

Pushinka was a gift from Nikita Khrushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union. 

The corgi’s father was a Soviet space dog named Strelka, who had orbited the Earth in 1960.

Kennedy’s children, Caroline and John Jr, loved Pushinka and often took her for walks around the White House grounds.

In 1963, Pushinka had a litter of puppies with an American Staffordshire terrier named Charlie. 

Caroline Kennedy named one of the puppies Sidney after her favorite toy poodle. 

Pushinka died in 1966 at the age of 12 and was buried at the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

5. Ronald Reagan And His Horses, Mr. Ed And Lucky

Former President Ronald Reagan owned two palomino horses, Mr. Ed and Lucky, a breed known for their beautiful golden coat.

Mr. Ed, the talking horse from the 1960s TV show of the same name, was originally named Bamboo Harvester. 

He was born in 1949 and was originally used in movies and TV commercials. 

In 1961, he was purchased by the producers of Mr. Ed and became one of the most famous horses in Hollywood. 

Lucky, on the other hand, was Ronald Reagan’s favorite horse. 

Reagan rode Lucky while he was Governor of California and later gifted the horse to his daughter, Maureen. 

Lucky died in 1995 at the age of 30. 

6. George H Bush And His English Springer Spaniels, Millie And Ranger

George H. Bush’s English Springer Spaniels, Millie and Ranger, were more than just beloved pets – they played an important role in the Bush presidency. 

Millie and Ranger were born just a few weeks apart in 1988. 

Since they were both from reputable breeding lines, they cost a total of $2,400 – quite a lot of money for two dogs!

In addition to being a White House pet, Millie was also a certified therapy dog who visited hospitals and nursing homes. 

Her book, “Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush,” became the best-selling pet book of all time, with proceeds from the book going directly to literacy programs.

Ranger was more low-key than Millie, but he was still an important part of the family. 

He was known for his gentle soul and loved spending time with his human siblings, Jenna and Barb.

Although they lived very different lives, Millie and Ranger were always best buddies. 

They passed away just a few months apart in 2013, leaving behind a legacy of love and companionship.

7. Lyndon B Johnson And His Beagles, Him And Her

Lyndon B. Johnson was the 36th President of the United States, and he was known for his love of beagles. 

He kept two beagles while he was in office, and they were named Him and Her. 

The dogs were often seen following the President around the grounds, and they even had their own seats in the Presidential helicopter. 

In addition to being great companions, the dogs also served as political advisers; on more than one occasion, Johnson is said to have taken their advice over that of his human advisors! 

After leaving office, Johnson continued to breed beagles at his ranch in Texas, and many of his descendants can still be found in homes across the country today. 

8. Richard Nixon And Checkers The Cocker Spaniel

President Richard Nixon’s pet dog Checkers was a Cocker Spaniel given to him by a supporter during his 1952 vice presidential campaign. 

The dog quickly became a popular member of the family, and even had his own White House staff members assigned to him. 

In addition to being a loyal companion, Checkers also served an important political purpose. 

During the height of the Cold War, Nixon used Checkers as a symbol of American domesticity in contrast to the communist ideology of the Soviet Union. 

9. Theodore Roosevelt And His Cats, Tom Quartz And Bobbie

Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to ever have pet cats in the White House. 

Their names were Tom Quartz and Bobbie, and both were very well-loved by Former President Roosevelt.

Tom Quartz was a grey and white cat that Roosevelt found in the stables, and Bobbie was a black cat that Roosevelt’s children brought home from a trip to New York. 

Both of these cats were so important to Roosevelt that he often wrote about them in his letters! 

Even though they were just regular cats, the pair made history by being the first presidential pets of their kind.

10. Barack Obama And His Portuguese Water Dog, Bo

In 2009, newly-elected President Barack Obama and his family welcomed a four-legged addition to the White House: Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog. 

Bo quickly became a popular figure, and over the next eight years he would go on to charmed everyone from world leaders to local schoolchildren. 

Bo was originally supposed to be a gift for the Obamas’ two young daughters, Sasha and Malia, however, the girls’ allergies meant that they couldn’t have a dog of their own, so Bo became a “first dog” instead. 

Bo is believed to be the first Portuguese Water Dog in the White House. 

He could often be seen taking walks around the White House grounds or riding in the presidential motorcade. 

Since leaving office, the Obamas have kept Bo busy with plenty of playdates and doggy outings. 

He currently lives with the family in their new home in Washington, D.C., where he enjoys spending time with his many canine friends.

shout out to BP Miller

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