Even with the U.S. presidential election behind us, timesare still proving a little crazy. It’s hard to find a happy-go-lucky news storywhen our candidates’ campaigns have been hit by scandal, untruths and oversights.With all of this, what good can come of 2016’s election?
The First Dog!
Looking at designer dog collars and don’t know which one to go with? Maybe your favorite First Dog can help!
For the Love of Dogs
Part of the fun of getting a new president in the White Houseis the day the First Family announces when they will be expanding their familyto include a four-legged playmate. It has become a long-standing tradition tohave a First Dog in the white house, having started with our first president,George Washington. For our readers’ sake, we’re going to take a look at theFirst Dogs who have won the hearts of the nation and reminded us that there isa friendly and loving personage in the White House, starting with PresidentEisenhower.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th U.S. President
A noted bad girl, President Eisenhower’s weimaraner Heidiwas banned from the White House after she had had one too many accidents on theWhite House carpets. But this didn’t stop the President from loving hisfour-legged friend. Eisenhower said of Heidi in a letter he wrote to ArthurSummerfield (the man who gifted Eisenhower and his family with the weimaraner)that “Heidi is definitely an asset to life in the White House. She cavorts onthe South Lawn at a great rate, with such important projects as chasingsquirrels and investigating what might be under bushes. She is beautiful andwell-behaved (occasionally she tends toward stubbornness but is thenimmediately apologetic about it) and she is extremely affectionate and happy.”
John F. Kennedy, 35th U.S. President
There were many pups who trounced through the White Househalls, but none were perhaps so infamous as Pushinka, the mutt gifted to theKennedy family by the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Pushinka was the offspringof the Soviet space explorer Strelka, one of the first dogs to fly upwards intospace and return from the trip alive. After the First Lady had asked afterStrelka and her new pups, Khrushchev decided to send the President and hisfamily one of the puppies. Pushinka, meaning “Fluffy” in Russian, was as much agift of goodwill to the First Family as it was a thumb-nosed snuff. TheAmerican public fell in love with Pushinka, and when she herself had puppieswith young Caroline’s Welsh Terrier Charlie, requests for puppy adoptions camepouring into the White House.
Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th U.S. President
Like Kennedy, President Johnson had more than one dog, thetwo most famous being beagles Him and Her. Photographed often with the pups in tow, Johnson caused a media firestorm when images of himpicking up Him by the ears hit newspapers. Sadly, there was more to befall Himand Her. Her died after swallowing stone when she wasn’t more than two yearsold, and Him died when he was run over by a car at age three, but not beforefathering a litter of puppies. Johnson’s daughter Luci kept one of the pups,with another being adopted by a White House staffer after the Johnson familyleft office.
Richard M. Nixon, 37th U.S. President
Before he was to become president over a decade later,Richard Nixon’s dog Checkers made national headlines as being the furry herothat saved his career. In 1952, the then-vice presidential nominee stoodaccused of getting “expense fund” money from wealthy businessmen in California.In his nationwide speech addressing the allegation, Nixon said it was your “typicalleft-wing smear.”
Addressing the nation, Nixon discussed his financial historyand ended it with anecdote of how his family happened upon their beloved CockerSpaniel Checkers. Explaining this “debt of gratitude,” Nixon shared with hisU.S. audience that night that there was “one other thing I should probably tellyou, because if I don’t they’ll probably be saying this about me, too-we didget something, a gift, after the election…the day before we left on thiscampaign trip, we got a message from the Union Station in Baltimore, sayingthey had a package for us. It was a little Cocker Spaniel dog…and our little six-year-oldgirl Tricia named it Checkers. And you know the kids, like all kids, love thedog and…regardless of what they say about it, we’re going to keep it.”
By representing himself as a loving father figure, Nixon wasable to assuage any public doubt about him, that is until Watergate.
Gerald Ford, 38th U.S. President
It was President Ford’s daughter Susan who introduced theFirst Family to Liberty,an eight-month-old Golden Retriever who became the First Dog soon after ashame-faced Nixon left the oval office. Liberty and Ford became inseparable,and the duo could be found walking the garden lawns together. A short timelater the Fords decided to breed Liberty. A mother to nine puppies, thenation’s heart was warmed by the golden girl and her adorable litter. Letterspoured in from the public remarking on the sweetness of the doggie clan. TheFords had a rubber stamp specially made using Liberty’s measurements so thatresponses from the White House regarding her and the pups were signed expresslyby her.
Jimmy Carter, 39th U.S. President
Soon after Jimmy Carter and family moved into the WhiteHouse, they too were gifted with a dog by daughter Amy’s elementary schoolteacher, a sweet border collie mix they named Gritz. Many pictureswere taken of Gritz with his new family, but he was soon returned to theteacher, without much explanation. Rumors surfaced that Gritz had somebehavioral issues, he apparently didn’t get on well with the First Family’scat, Misty Malarky Ying Yang.
Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. President
Similar to some of his predecessors, President Reagan receivedthe First Dog as a gift. Ronald and Nancy Reagan met Rex the cavalier kingcharles spaniel on Christmas Day. Naming the pup after White House chief usher atthe time, Rex Scouten, one of the pup’s fitting official first duties wasto light the national Christmas tree.
George H.W. Bush, 41st U.S. President
The First Dog during President George H.W. Bush’sadministration was a springer spaniel named Millie, and she was the first FirstDog to write her own book! Aptly titled Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush, the book describesthe day in the life of the Bush family and administration.
Bill Clinton, 42nd U.S. President
Buddy the chocolate lab moved to his new address in 1997 atthree months old. When it was announced that there was a new Clinton familymember, Clinton’s spokesman Mike McCurry quipped that “it’s the President’sdesire to have one loyal friend in Washington.” The pup was named after Bill’sfavorite great-uncle Henry “Buddy” Grisham, who died shortly before theClintons’ adopted the pup. Buddy quickly melted the nation’s heart and even hadhis own fan club.
George W. Bush, 43rd U.S. President
The puppy of Millie, President George H.W. Bush’s springerspaniel, Spot, was adopted by George W. and his wife Laura Bush. Named afterthe Texas Rangers shortstop Scott Fletcher, Spot loved life on the Bush;ranch-pouncing on grasshoppers, chasing birds and jumping in ponds were herspecialties. Spot was an outdoorsy sort of dog, but Bush oft remarked that “Spotunderstands the decorum of the Oval Office, so she gets to go in.”
Barack Obama, 44th U.S. President
With the title of CanineAmbassador , President Obama’s Portuguese water dogs Bo and Sunny entertainWhite House guests and crowds at the annual Easter Egg Roll and visithospitalized children every year with First Lady Michelle Obama. The First Ladyhas final approval of their schedules, and she and the President comment on howhard-working and loving their pups are.
The only question remaining, is will president-elect Trumpcontinue with the first-dog tradition? We’ll just have to wait and see.
You can judge a person by how they treat and talk abouttheir dogs. For better or worse, these Presidents had some pretty amazing furryfamily members. Inspired by what you’ve read? Visit Hot Dog Collars to learn more about dogsand all the doggie accessories they’ll need to succeed!