Who could forget Barney and Miss Beazley Bush and their Christmas WH videos? Each time I was in the White House while living in DC, I was on the lookout for this dynamic duo, but unfortunately I was never able to catch them. Once while walking by the White House at night, I was so excited to see a shadow darting across the front lawn, then realized it was a police's german shephard. Bummer.
But did you know that before Miss Beasley, Barney had another companion- Spot, a Springer Spaniel? The interesting thing about Spotty was that he was born in the White House to Millie, who was Bush Sr.'s dog. The photo to the left shows Millie with her litter of puppies. Spot is the only dog who was in the White House for two adminstrations and lived for 15 years.
This is President Clinton's adorable chocolate lab Buddy, who helped Clinton pick up chicks.
Franklin Roosevelt's Scottish Terrier, Fala, was his best friend and also one of the most iconic and celebrated White House Dogs. He even had his own Press Secretary! Fala was also the first Presidential Dog to be memorialized with a statue.
Perhaps the saddest story of a Presidential Dog is that of Feller, a cocker spaniel who was an unsolicited Christmas present to Harry Truman. President Truman is known for his famous quote "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog"- however ironically he was not a good friend to Feller. He gave the dog to the White House Physician, and Feller in turn was passed around to 5 or 6 different families before finding a home. Forever in history as "The Unwanted Dog"- and Truman paid the price by having one of the lowest Presidential approval ratings in history. I'd like to think our friend Feller may have had a thing or two to do with that.
Abraham Lincoln's dog was named Fido (a retriver/shephard mix)... President Lincoln had a soft spot in his heart for cats, but he loved all animals... In fact, the tradition of the Presidential Turkey Pardon began with him... His son Taddie befriended the White House Turkey and when Thanksgiving Day came, Lincoln couldn't bear to let Taddie lose his pet and gave him a pardon. Fido actually never lived in the White House- he was very scared of the canon noises and of trains (part of Lincoln's election celebration) and Lincoln didn't think Fido'd make it on the long train ride to the White House... Reluctantly, he gave Fido to a local family with strict instructions that he would remain an inside dog, would always get treats from the dinner table when asked, and would never be scolded for muddy feet. Fido outlived Lincoln.