Monday, January 26, 2009

Canine Incidents in U.S. Presidential History

After the Chirac Attack by Sumo the Poodle noted in my last post, and not so long after W's Barney nipped a reporter, I got to wondering about other presidential pooch incidents. I list some of the more interesting (sometimes tragic) ones that I found:

Washington.... He was astonished at how well trained his slaves' dogs were. He also suspected that slaves were using their dogs to round up and steal his sheep at night. So Washington ordered his plantation manager to destroy a number of the slaves' dogs.

Jefferson.... Also to protect his sheep, he ordered the destruction of all dogs belonging to his slaves. One dog was hanged as a disciplinary warning to the slaves.

Lincoln.... His dog Fido, a mongrel, suffered a violent death when stabbed in the street by a drunk man who was angered at having his clothes soiled by the dog's dirty paws.

T. Roosevelt.... His bull terrier Pete ripped off the French ambassador's pants during a White House function.

Harding.... His Airedale had his own chair to sit on in cabinet meetings.

FDR.... His Scottie Fala became famous. His other Scottie Meggie bit a senator.

Nixon.... The story of his cocker spaniel Checkers, told in dramatic fashion in "The Checkers Speech," saved Nixon's early political career.

Johnson.... Yuki, his beagle, soiled the Oval Office floor in the presence of the Shah of Iran, and bit a White House police officer in the groin.

Reagan.... Lucky, his Bouvier des Flandres, dragged Reagan across the White House lawn in the presence of Margaret Thatcher. The event was photographed and publicized, and was considered unpresidential. Lucky was sent to live in California.

Clinton.... Buddy, his chocolate Labrador, relieved himself on the carpet as television cameras rolled.

W.... Barney, his Scottie, bit the finger of a reporter.

Obama... During his victory speech, he announced his intention to adopt a dog for his children. Later discussing possible breed options, Obama speculated that the dog to be chosen may be "a mutt like me."

* The above list was abstracted from here, here, and here.

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