Pets aren't the only ones who have joined their human counterparts in the White House. During Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidency, he brought home a parakeet named Gabby, who resided in the White House with the Eisenhower family for three years until dying and is buried on the White House grounds. The bird had a major influence on former first daughter Margaret Thatcher, who was given her nickname "Gabby" at age four after this pet parrot.
First ladies have also had some influence over the naming of dogs who've served as an unofficial mascot for their husbands or families. For example, Mrs. John F. Kennedy encouraged her husband to adopt a Labrador retriever when they lived in Washington, D.C. In turn, he named his new dog Boomer, which later became the name of Mr. Kennedy's successful presidential campaign.
Additionally, several cats have called the White House home over the years. Most recently, President Barack Obama has had two cats named Bo and Sunny who've accompanied him on the road trip that is being considered a real-life version of The Truman Show. They're expected to stay in the White House when Mr. Obama leaves office in January 2019.
Finally, there's one animal who's been present at every inauguration of the United States since 1789: the horse-drawn carriage carrying the president-elect.
The White House has a long history of having pets, particularly dogs. President Barack Obama owned a Portuguese water dog named Bo. President George W. Bush owned a Scottish terrier named Barney.
Obama also had a German shepherd named Seamus who died in 2015 at the age of 13. Before that, he had two other German shepherds: Juno and Zeus.
Barney belonged to President Bush and was born on January 4, 2001. He was a Scottish terrier who worked as a staff member in the Oval Office.
He got his name from President Bush's mother, Barbara, who wanted to name him "Duff". But when she went to check her mail one day, she found a note with Barney in it instead. She decided that was better so she went with that.
He lived in a specially built house on the White House property with his owner and another dog named Sully. They gave him regular shots and took him to see a vet every six months.
In an interview last year, President Bush said that buying Barney was one of the best decisions he ever made. He added that they have a good relationship now that Barney doesn't bother him anymore since Obama took over the office.
During his presidency, President Calvin Coolidge kept so many pets that some referred to the White House as a zoo. While most presidents keep fish in the White House swimming pool, Mr. Coolidge also had a menagerie of other animals including dogs, cats, a parrot, and even a walrus.
He acquired several of the animals from public sources and others he bought himself on tour after their release into private ownership. For example, Mr. Coolidge obtained the walrus from Alaska for $10,000 and brought it home as a personal gift for his daughter Lucy. The president showed it to visitors by the front door with a sign indicating where to find a keeper if they wanted to see more.
Mr. Coolidge's wife, who did not like all the animals at the house, once said she wished they could get rid of some of them. He replied that if she took care of the problems herself then there would be no need to get another woman in to do it for him.
She wasn't the only one who felt this way about the pets. Many members of the public complained about having to look at all these animals inside the house.
Presidents and their families in the United States have a history of like animals. The White House and its grounds have become home to creatures ranging from mice to bears. Pets for the President
|George Washington||Polly the parrot; 36 hounds; horses|
|Andrew Jackson||horses named Truxton, Sam Patches, Emily, Lady Nashville, and Bolivia; Pol the parrot; ponies|
The Most Famous Presidential Dog Who Never Lived in the White House Although Nixon's cocker spaniel, Checkers, never resided in the White House, he gained a celebrity after then-Senator Nixon mentioned the dog in a broadcast address on September 23, 1952. Checkers had been sent to a vet after suffering a brain hemorrhage and being put down. However, his death received wide media coverage and caused Senator Nixon to be questioned about his wife's position on animal welfare during her campaign for president. She felt so strongly about this issue that she had given away many pets over the years and would continue to do so if elected.
Nixon told reporters that day that he would have kept Checkers if he had been elected president because "I think it is important for the public to know that there was never any thought of putting the dog into office." However, he also said that "if I had known I would have had to take him to Washington with me, I wouldn't have done it."
Checkers remained dead until 1995 when his skeleton was discovered in a ranch near San Diego. Scientists were able to determine that he had suffered from hypoplasia, or underdevelopment of the brain, and was therefore not cognitively capable of learning how to perform certain tasks. This means that he could have learned how to sit, but not how to play games or work puzzles. He was also blind.