The Coolidges actually owned two pet raccoons, Rebecca and Rueben. (Calivin's wife, Grace, is shown in on the previous page showing off Rebecca.) The “masked” pets slept in an outdoor shed at night but were known to roam the White House during the day.
While running for vice president under Dwight D. Eisenhower, Nixon was accused of hiding a secret slush fund. In what’s now known as Nixon’s “Checkers Speech,” Nixon denied having the fund but said there was one present he would not be giving back—his black-and-white dog, Checkers. Lou Carrol, a traveling salesman and Nixon supporter, sent the pup to the White House after reading that the Nixon’s daughters longed for a dog.
While in the White House, Nixon had three more dogs: Vicki, Pasha, and King Timahoe. The pups are pictured above looking out a White House window.
Honest Abe made the name popular in America—Fido is a Latin name that means “I am faithful.” Fido was the first White House pooch to have his photo taken, and that picture is still on display at the Illinois State Historical Society. The statue of Abe and his dog (left) is in front of The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Two of the pets were crocodiles, belonging to a son of Herbert Hoover (pictured left with his dog King Tut). John Quincy Adams set the standard—his pet alligator lived in a bathroom in the East Room of the White House. He apparently got great pleasure out of scaring his guests with the gator.
Some Republican leaders accused Roosevelt of spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars trying to get Fala back. Roosevelt addressed these attacks in his famous “Fala speech” when he said, “I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself—such as that old, worm-eaten chestnut that I have represented myself as indispensable. But I think I have a right to resent, to object, to libelous statements about my dog!”
Johnson (pictured above in the Oval Office with another pet, Yuki) was shocked by the uproar and later apologized to animal rights organizations. He said he had been picking up the beagles by their ears since they were puppies and thought they liked it.
JFK owned five horses and ponies, six dogs (including Pushinka, who was a gift and puppy of the famous Soviet space dog Strelka), one cat, one canary, two parakeets, two hamsters, and a rabbit named Zsa Zsa. That's not even counting the puppies born in the White House that his family gave away!
Rumor has it, Ford (pictured left) would signal to Liberty when wanted to wrap up a conversation in the Oval Office. The loyal pup would then approach that guest with his tail wagging, creating a natural break in the conversation.