Home History US Presidents and their Pets: Part III

US Presidents and their Pets: Part III

In Part III of our series, we discuss more about US Presidents and their Pets, Frequently Asked Questions about Pets, and a 25 Question Trivia Game about Insects, Fish, Birds, Mammals and Reptiles.

To see US Presidents and their Pets, Part I, visit Presidents and Pets: A T-Boy Odyssey Into Why They Loved One Another. For Part II, see Pet Owners Who Love Their Pets: Precious Pix, which includes many photographs of owners and their pets with uplifting texts.

Our first president, General George Washington, never lived with pets in the White House – it was not completed until the administration of our second president, John Adams. President John Adams is credited with owning the first White House Presidential Pets: two mixed breed dogs, named Juno and Satan. John Adams’ tenure in the White House was short-lived (he lost reelection later that year), but many dogs and cats have served as First Pets ever since.

Courtesy of Abe Lincoln Loved Animals by Ellen Jackson; Doris Ettlinger, [Illustrator].

Abraham Lincoln and Fido

Like Barron, Rover and Spot, the name Fido has long been a popular one to name a pet dog. The birth of the name was coined by an English language newspaper, asking for help, finding a small white Greyhound with a Collar, who answers to the name of ‘Fido.‘ But the popularity of the name started in the US during Abraham Lincoln’s life in Springfield, Illinois. Five years before becoming the 16th president of the US, Lincoln was a victim to many episodes of depression and Fido helped to relieve him from the pain.

Abraham Lincoln’s pet dog, Fido, circa 1861. Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia.

Throughout his childhood and into his presidential years, Abraham was kind to animals and always made time for his pets. Fido is taken from the Latin word “Fidus,” which means, always faithful, instilling a similar sense of loyalty. Semper Fidelis (also from “the faithful”) is the motto of every US Marine. It is an eternal and collective commitment to the success of our battles, the progress of our Nation, and the steadfast loyalty to the fellow Marines we fight alongside. Semper Fidelis was also the motto of my US Marine Corp father, Louis Boitano, who participated in D-Day: Battle of Iwo Jima and D-Day: Battle of Okinawa. I still remember his words today when I was a child: Eddie, You see a lot of guys today sitting around playing video games and talking about battles, but I doubt they‘ve experienced a ‘real’ battle.

US Marine Dog with Three Legs, receives High UK Award After 400 Missions. Photograph courtesy of Wounded Times.

Fido didn’t get to live in the White House. Instead, he stayed in Springfield, Illinois. Sady, both Lincoln and Fido met a similar demise, both assassinated in different venues and with different weapons. Lincoln took a bullet hole in the back of his head, by the culprit John Wilkes Booth at Ford Theater in Washington DC, and Fido took a knife deep into his gut, by a drunken culprit on a derelict porch in Springfield. Fido would become euphoric upon seeing other people, and had an excitable tradition of standing on his two back legs and embracing them with his two front legs, leaving his stomach vulnerable to attacks. But the drunken vagrant took exception to this; why should a mongrel mutt bother me when I’m in a drunken bliss? Apparently, Fido survived the initial attack and managed to run away, but was discovered months later in his deathbed below a dilapidated shack.

Thomas Jefferson’s Pet Sheep. Photographs courtesy of Pets Retro.

Thomas Jefferson, our third US President (In office 1801-1809) was the second US President to maintain a farm, after George Washington.

Dick was Jefferson’s favorite of his four mockingbirds; Bergère and Grizzle were shepherd dogs from France; two grizzly bear cubs were gifted from Captain Zebulon Pike; Caractacus was a horse named after a 1st-century British chieftain. Beginning in 1807, the president bred sheep from, Four of the most remarkable varieties. By spring 1808, there were nearly 40 sheep grazing at the president’s house.

William Henry Harrison served the shortest presidential term in history, dying 32 days after his March 4, 1841 inauguration, but still had the energy to own two pets; a cow name Sukey and a goat, whose name is still unknown. For now, let’s call him Ringo.

Franklin Pierce made history when his miniature teacup Japanese Chin dog was part of a gift exchange with Japan following the Perry Expedition.

President LBJ owned Him and Her, that is the beagles, Edgar and Freckles. Yuki was a mongrel dog, famous for “singing duets” (howling) with Johnson for White House guests.

LBJ and his Beagle

President Lyndon Baines Johnson lifting his pet beagle by the ears. From Groovy History, courtesy of LBJ Library with photos by Cecil Stoughton.

In 1964, when President Lyndon Baines Johnson lifted his pet beagle by its ears in front of reporters, he enraged animal lovers and animal rights groups around the world. Johnson, a Texan and dog lover, pulled the stunt to make the dog yelp before some visiting businessmen, according to Life magazine, and said “It does them good to let them yelp.” He claimed he didn’t think he was hurting the dog, but Humane Society spokespeople begged to differ, and Johnson caught heat from activists’ public statements and newspaper editorial pages. It was a public barking match that LBJ was not going to win. Today, the photo and the botched response stands as one of the most memorable presidential gaffes of all time.

Richard M Nixon and Checkers

Vice President Richard M Nixon and family with Checkers. Photograph courtesy of minutemediacdn.com.

Before Richard M Nixon was vice president, he was hounded by the human press, when he accepted a pet dog named Checkers. Nixon had been accused of improprieties relating to a fund established by his backers to reimburse him for his political expenses. His place was in doubt on the Republican ticket as vice president with General Dwight David Eisenhower, who was on a quest to become our 34th US President. So, Nixon flew to Los Angeles and delivered a half-hour television address, known as Checkers speech, in which he defended himself and attacked his opponents. During his speech he stated that he intended to keep one gift, regardless of the outcome: a black-and-white Cocker-Spaniel that his children had named Checkers.

Donald J Trump and Malice

Former president Donald Trump never had a pet while in the White House. And all the animals in the world now pray, that he’ll never have a chance again. Many pet owners were riled up, when the former president would refer to the human species of women as dogs, horsefaces, pussies and pigs. It seemed to imply that animals and the human species of women were inferior to him. And the more they thought about it; shouldn’t it be the other way around.

And how his human cultists would laugh, when he’d do crude pantomimes, mocking members of the human species due to their mental and physical disabilities, stuttering, and because some are below average height. Something that no animal would ever do. Animals are known to help other animals when they’re hurt and distressed. And, often times, when they are abandoned, regardless of whatever species they are, they adopt each other, making it a wonderful large family of love and acceptance. Animals also defend us from perpetrators. I remember that was something that a few US politicans had sworn an oath to do. But how can all the animals throughout our Republic ever defend us from a powerful army of a human monarchy?

President Jimmy Carter and President Ronald Reagan

And hail to the Commanders and Chiefs, Jimmy Carter, a peanut farmer, and Ronald Reagan, a rancher, who were once adversaries. Eventually they forged a friendship, but not certain if it was because of their pets.

Lieutenant James Earl Carter Jr., USN: Georgia Governor and Our 39th American President

I have one life and one chance to make it count for something… My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference. – President Jimmy Carter.

Jimmy Carter was awarded the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize for work to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development. He was often labeled a dove and a pansy by the right-wing media and politicians, but they never seemed to notice that he was a graduate from the US Naval Academy in 1946. He spent a number of months in the design and development of nuclear propulsion plants for naval vessels. Starting in March of 1953, Lieutenant Carter was preparing to become the engineering officer for the USS Seawolf, one of the first submarines to operate on atomic power. 

However, when his father died in July 1953, Carter resigned from the Navy and returned to Plains, Georgia to manage his parent’s interests. When he saw the condition of their family farm, he realized his family was hopelessly in debt. Jimmy moved his wife, the former Rosalynn Smith, a noted author and humanitarian, and their three young kids, settling into a shack on a dirt road, where the area was almost entirely populated by impoverished African-American families. Through this, Jimmy and Rosalynn saw first-hand how tragic racism really is. They were stunned that African-Americans, many who had protected our nation in the Second World War, were forced to live in such deporable conditions.

Later, the USS Jimmy Carter, the third and final Seawolf-class nuclear-powered fast-attack submarines in the United States Navy, is named in his honor due to his courage in defending the values our nation.

Jimmy Carter as a young boy, down on his family’s farm in Plains, Georgia. Photograph courtesy of NPR.gov.

President Carter was fond of pets and also of children. When he was in the neighborhood, he would secretly teach Chrisitan Sunday School to kids. But why did he do it in secret? Once again, Jimmy had remembered the US Constitution, where there was a thing about a separation of church and state, and that our nation does not have a national religion. Jimmy looked at the theocracies of Iran, Sudan and Saudi Arabia and saw that our Founding Fathers were right. There was never a theocracy in world history that was fair to all of its citizens. Later, when our Nation issued a ban of all Muslims entering the US, including American citizens, Jimmy tried to warn us that some politicians were trying to redefine our Republic as a theocracy.

Nonetheless, President Carter marched on, continuing to teach Christian Sunday School in secrecy. But once again, why in secret? Jimmy realized that this would be offensive to our US citizens who might believe in Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and so many more that it’s made the US a rich tapestry of different cultures. Imagine our Republic without beans, maize, pizza, chili pepper, Wiener Schnitzel, sushi, and pumpkin pie and the Mexican Turkey Hen for Thanksgiving. And, most importanly, pet food from England for our animals to survive.

Amy Carter with cat, Misty. Photograph courtesy of WTO News.

President Jimmy Carter: Born October 1, 1924; Died in his sleep on June 27, 2024 at the age of 99 years-old.

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President Jimmy Carter and his wife, First Lady Rosalynn Carter, building a shelter for the homeless. Photograph courtesy of Habitat for Humanity via CNN.
Rosalynn and Jimmy, dedicating their life so that poverty-stricken Americans can have a safe and warm place to rest, too.

Rest in Peace, Jimmy –

America really did love you. We were just too busy to tell.

The defining image of you that many of us will always remember, is when you’re smiling and wearing you work clothes, holding a hammer and pounding nails, building a home for forgotten Americans who need shelter and unconditional love.

Ronald Wilson Reagan: Governor of California and then the 40th president of the United States

President Reagan was a man who also loved his pets. But even more so, he loved Reaganomics, which meant economic deregulation and cuts in both taxes and government spending.

Reagan left the presidency in 1989 with the US economy having seen a significant reduction of inflation, the unemployment rate having fallen, and the United States having entered its then, longest peacetime expansion. At the same time, the national debt had nearly tripled since 1981 as a result of his cuts in taxes and increased military spending, despite cuts to domestic spending.

As the right-wing Republicans, whose logo is an elephant, were hard on Carter, the left-wing Democrats, whose logo is a donkey, were hard on Reagan, too, due to his harsh cuts to domestic spending. America’s poor and homeless felt abandoned. Even more so with the cut backs on children’s free lunch programs for they really did need to eat in order to survive and be attentive in our nation’s classrooms to learn how to read and write. If you’re someone who never inherited a large amount of money, education is often the only way to succeed financially in life without being a criminal.

Today, Ronald Reagan is often regarded as one of our greatest presidents; but for the poor, the forgotten, ethnic minorities and the US citizens who were condemned to death by a new pandemic called AIDS, he is regarded as something less.

But, on a personal note, I will always admire him, back when he was caught in the illegal Iran-Contra Affair; for he did something that our later despicable cult messiah would never do. He sat in the Oval Office and looked at America’s cameras directly into their lenses and said: I made a mistake.

Lucky hitches a ride on President Reagan’s lap for a weekend at Camp David. Courtesy of Daily Mail.

Yes, President Reagan loved his pets. In particular his dog, Lucky, a female Bouvier des Flandres, who was given to first lady Nancy Reagan by the 1985 March of Dimes poster child, Kristen Ellis. The dog was named after Mrs. Reagan’s mother, Edith Luckett Davis. Lucky was moved from the White House to Rancho del Cielo during the 1985 Thanksgiving holiday, because she was getting too big for the White House.

Photograph of Rex’s doghouse, a mini-replica of the White House, courtesy of the Presidential Pet Museum.

The Reagans went dogless in the White House for a while, but Nancy was known to be clairvoyant and didn’t want the First Family to end up like a later president would, a later president who would compare his own stature to her husband, President Ronald Reagan. So, their next new puppy, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, was named after Rex Scouten, the White House chief usher.

One of Rex’s first official duties was to throw the power switch to light the national Christmas tree in 1985

Because Rex planned to leave his luxurious doghouse at the White House at the end of President Reagan’s second term, he was presented with a new doghouse that was a mini-replica of the White House. Lining the inside was a piece of familiar carpet from Camp David.

The canine Soul’s final moments, where Heart the dog refuses to leave Soul’s side after having been struct by a hit-and-run driver. Photograph courtesy of newsweek/TRAY RESCUE OF ST. LOUIS.

The animals whose abuse is most often reported are dogs, cats, horses and livestock. Undercover investigations have revealed that animal abuse abounds in the factory farm industry. But because of the weak protections afforded to livestock under state cruelty laws, only the most shocking cases are reported, and few are ever prosecuted. Data on domestic violence and child abuse cases reveal that a staggering number of animals are targeted by those who abuse their children or spouses. There are approximately 70 million pet dogs and 74.1 million pet cats in the U.S. where 20 men and women are assaulted per minute (an average of around 10 million a year). In one survey, 71 % of domestic violence victims reported that their abuser also targeted pets. In one study of families under investigation for suspected child abuse, researchers found that pet abuse had occurred in 88 % of the families under supervision for physical abuse of their children.

An example of a heartless animal mill in Asia, where every species is forced to fit. Photograph courtesy of peta.org.uk.

Neglect is the most common type of animal cruelty. Hoarding is a severe form of neglect in which the owner accumulates an excessive number of pets, is unable to provide even minimal care.

WARNING, DISTRESSING CONTENT, A CRIMINAL ACT: A dog owner has kicked his own dog in the face in a sickening attack, filmed by a shocked pedestrian. Photograph courtesy of au.finance.yahoo.com/liverpool-uk-36749117.html.

Animal cruelty involves inflicting harm, injuring, or killing an animal. The cruelty can be intentional, such as kicking, burning, stabbing, beating, or shooting; or it can involve neglect, such as depriving an animal of water, shelter, food, and necessary medical treatment.

Yes, dogs can experience emotional scars as a result of traumatic events, abuse, neglect, or the loss of a significant person or companion animal in their life.

If yes, it’s probably abuse, because hitting an animal doesn’t teach it anything in a way it can understand – it just teaches the animal to be afraid of you and the circumstances in which it’s being hit. A gentle tap to get an animal’s attention is one thing – and that should be tailored to the animal’s capability, so for example a kitten might require a literal finger tap on the flank, while a horse might need a nudge with your heel – but if you’re doing anything that makes the animal yelp or otherwise indicate PAIN, you’ve got it wrong.

A puppy in isolation at an Asian dog mill. Photograph courtesy of peta.org.uk.

If yes, then it’s more like neglect (and is abuse). Although an animal can understand “I didn’t get a treat for what I just did” they are not capable of understanding “I did a bad thing so I don’t deserve my meal.” If the dog doesn’t sit when you ask it to do so, it doesn’t get a treat right then, it should still be fed its normal meal at the normal time.

A 15-year-old dog fighting for life after being kicked by its owners. Photograph courtesy of cbs/losangeles/news.

Withdrawing attention briefly in order to negatively reinforce a behavior is one thing – turning away from a dog that’s jumping up, for example, until he puts all four feet on the floor. But throwing that same dog into a crate in a back bedroom because he’s jumped up at you, and leaving him there, is again running into the neglect side of things.

To help an emotionally abused dog, you should first seek veterinary care. It is important to rule out any underlying physical issues and to get a thorough health evaluation. Then slowly and gradually expose the dog to new experiences, people, and other animals in a controlled and positive environment. Encourage the dog’s good behavior with treats, praise, and affection. Avoid using punishment or force-based training methods. Provide a stable and predictable routine: Regular meals, exercise, and plenty of rest can help establish a sense of security and stability. A veterinary behaviorist can help create a tailored behavior modification plan and provide support during the recovery process. Healing takes time and patience. It is important to remain consistent in your approach and to never give up on the dog. Offer the dog plenty of affection, love, and positive reinforcement. Show the dog that they are safe and loved. Remember, healing from emotional abuse is a slow process, but with patience, love, and the right support, many dogs can make a full recovery.

A 68-year-old man from Texas has been arrested for animal cruelty after he abandoned his pet husky on the side of the road. Photographs courtesy of globalnews.ca/cctvv-footage-uk.

Yes, dogs can get traumatized when they are physically punished, such as being hit or kicked. Physical punishment can cause fear, anxiety, and aggression in dogs and can result in long-lasting emotional scars. It can also damage the bond between a pet and its owner and can lead to trust issues. Using physical punishment is not an effective or humane way to train or discipline dogs. Instead, positive reinforcement training techniques, such as rewarding desired behaviors and ignoring undesired behaviors, are more effective and do not cause emotional harm. If you are struggling with training or behavior issues, it is best to consult with a professional dog behaviorist for guidance.

A savanna elephant manages to migrate despite boundaries and borders. Courtesy of Media release from University of Pretoria via Image source: The Dodo.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than 6.5 million members and supporters. PETA exposes animals suffering in laboratories, in the food industry, in the clothing trade, and in the entertainment industry.

List of Animal Welfare Nonprofits in Los Angeles | Deep Sweep

We have a moral obligation to report any felon who is abusing an animal, regardless of race, color, creed, religion, wealth and political domination. Feel free to contact Traveling Boy directly **@tr*******.com and we’ll do everything in our power to bring the felon to justice.

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man.– Mark Twain

Happiness is a warm puppy. – Charles M. Schulz

New Liverpudlian rockers, known today as the Fab Four, were in Miami for a live Ed Sullivan Show performance when they met a largely unknown 22-year-old underdog boxer named Cassius Clay. Later, Clay, known today as Muhammad Ali, asked, who were those sissies? Photograph courtesy of Express Newspapers via AP Images.

Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee; let’s see how well you do with these 25 Question Trivia Game about Animals

To play the 25 Question Trivia Game about Animals, see below:

Are Pigs smart enough to play video games? Name the most intelligent animal in the world? Do Elephants never forget? Is the Grandview rattlesnake the most venomous snake on earth? In The Beatle song, Martha My Dear, is “Bungalow Bill’s Mother,” a code name for “Martha?”

No one will see your answers, except for you.

Is the Giant Rat  invisible when seen in infrared cameras? Is it true that we call a group of Kangaroos a “Kangaroo Court?” Did Winston Churchill say something alarming, which caused Richard Burton to throw his MBE back into Queen Elizabeth, Number Two’s face? How much wood does a woodpecker chuck wood per second? Did the Scottish poet, Robert Byrne, write the poem, “Howl?”

And remember, no one will see your answers, except for you.

Do horses sleep while standing up? How can you tell if your pet dog is dreaming. Can camels go without water for over a month? Panda Bear’s sleep the longest of all animal species. Is the Yakima Yellow Tail the most poisonous critter on earth?

As noted above: No one will see your answers, except for you. And all winners, not suckers and losers, like Trump said about courageous Americans who join the military to defend our way of life, will be awarded prices. And this will be on an honor system; so good luck with that, too! — The T-Boy Staff

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  1. Hector

    June 26, 2024 at 7:02 pm

    You seem to enjoy kicking Trump.


  2. Joanna

    June 26, 2024 at 7:10 pm

    Dear T-Boy,

    I read somewhere that John Quincy Adams’ wife had pet silkworms.



    June 26, 2024 at 7:19 pm

    Hey, thanks!

    I think you may be right, but I’ll try to verify.

    I should have also verified in Presidents and Pets that John Quincy Adams had a pet given to him by Lafayette. It can a tad frustrating with so many erroneous postings on the Internet.

    Of course, you remember director John Ford’s line (paraphrased): “When you have to choose between fact and the myth, choose the myth.”


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