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Nature Scenes: Presidents have owned a great variety of pets
By Lynn Bowen
posted Jun 16, 2013 - 1:40:29pm
My cat, Socks, that I owned in the 1990s looked like a twin to President Bill Clinton's cat Socks. I owned my cat first, so I didn't copy the name. On a whim, I sent a photo of my Socks to the president, and was amazed to receive a postcard a few weeks later saying thank you!
What pets have other presidents had? My research found some interesting facts about the pets and their names. George Washington had a parrot named Polly and 36 dogs. John Adams had a horse called Cleopatra and three dogs. One of his dogs was named Satan — hmmm, I wonder what his disposition was.
John Quincy Adams owned an alligator. Millard Fillmore owned two ponies and named them Mason and Dixon! Wonder if he favored one over the other?
I'll skip over some pets and their presidential owners. Abraham Lincoln had a turkey named Jack, goats, ponies, cats, dogs, pigs and one rabbit. James Garfield had a horse called Kit and a dog named Veto. Wonder if he had a good reason for that name.
Theodore Roosevelt, an avid nature-lover, practically had a zoo: a retriever named Sailor Boy, other dogs, two cats, a badger, a pony, a macaw, a garter snake called Emily Spinach, 12 horses, five bears, lizards, an owl, a raccoon, a coyote, a lion, a hyena and even a zebra!
Herbert Hoover had several dogs, one of which he named King Tut! Lyndon Johnson had two beagles named Him and Her, and got in trouble for lifting Her by the ears. Not very imaginative names, Mr. Johnson.
Jimmy Carter owned an Afghan hound and a Siamese cat. George W. Bush gave his wife a Scottish terrier for her birthday, in addition to their two dogs and one cat. Barack Obama's family thoughtfully picked a Portuguese water dog, since this breed doesn’t aggravate allergies. His name is Bo.
As you can see, humor and pets have resided with many of our presidents, bringing pleasure to their owners.
— Bowen lives in DeLand. Send email to her at email@example.com.
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