The paws that walked the halls of the White House

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Graphic by Alyssa Gonzales

There have been a number of presidential dogs throughout the course of history.

Over the course of presidential history in the United States, almost all of the commanders-in-chief have had a four-legged friend by their side. After this historic election, another notable feat was achieved with Joe Biden’s dog, Major.

Biden will enter the White House with a pair of german shepherds named Champ and Major. Major will make history as the first rescue dog to live in the White House.

ABC News reported that “Biden had been on the lookout for a pal for the aging Champ when he heard about some German shepherd puppies that had been taken in from the Delaware Humane Society in 2018.”

Presidents having pets in the White House is not a new concept. Though George Washington did not live in the White House, he had a number of presidential pets including dogs, a donkey, and even a parrot.

According to Business Insider, “John Adams was the second US president, but the first to reside in the White House. He brought his collection of creatively named pets with him. Among them were a pair of mongrel dogs named Juno and Satan, and a horse named Cleopatra.”

There would be presidents after who would have pets other than dogs during their time in the White House.

According to The Dogington Post (yes, this is real), “Following Monroe’s presidency, several unique pets called the White House home, but it wasn’t until 1841 when our 10th president, John Tyler brought man’s best friend back into the Oval Office,”

The two presidents in history without pets in the White House include James K. Polk and current president Donald Trump. Other presidents brought in a large number of pets.

The Dogington Post goes on to say, “President Franklin Pierce, often labeled as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history, did have one great trait – his love for dogs! The un-favored president moved 7 small dogs into the White House during his term.”

Throughout the course of history, the public began to find more interest in the personal life of presidents. This would include their family lives, which would also ultimately involve their pets.

As The White House Historical Association mentioned, “With the common reproduction of photographs in newspapers and magazines by the early 20th century, presidential pets had to accept the same scrutiny as their distinguished masters. Whether providing companionship or humanizing the president’s political image, White House dogs have done the job well.”

Perhaps one of the most well-known presidential dogs is Fala, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Scottish Terrier. Not only did Fala have his own secretary to sort his fan mail, he would also forever be memorialized alongside his owner with the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington D.C.

The different presidents over time have made history and evidently so have their pups. As the election has come to a close, there will be new dogs making their way into the White House.

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