Wonderful and Wacky First Pets

Dogs and cats have lived at the White House during many presidential terms. So have exotic birds, a flock of sheep and even more unconventional animals!

By Meaghan Cameron
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    Bo Obama

    Barack Obama (2009- )

    After winning the election, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama promised their daughters, Malia and Sasha, a new puppy. Bo is a Portuguese water dog given to the first family by Senator Ted Kennedy and his wife.

    Barney, Miss Beazley and India (the cat)

    George W. Bush (2001-2009 )
    Barney, Miss Beazley and India (the cat)

    The Scottish terriers were the subjects of many Bush family Christmas skits.

    Misty Malarky Yin Yang

    Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)
    Misty Malarky Yin Yang

    While having a Siamese cat as a pet isn't that unique, naming the creature Misty Malarky Yin Yang arguably makes it qualify! Here Carter's daughter, Amy, holds her cat.

    Him and Her

    Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)
    Him and Her -- Beagles

    These popular pups -- whose actual names were Him and Her -- once made the cover of Life magazine. Here they are on a walk with the President and the press on the White House lawn.

    Caroline Kennedy's Pet Ducks

    John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)
    Caroline Kennedy's Pet Ducks

    Caroline Kennedy's pet ducks waddle across the White House lawn. The children also owned a pony called Macaroni.

    Fala, "The Informer"

    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-45)
    Fala -- Scottish Terrier

    Dubbed "The Informer," Fala was instantly recognized when out on walks during secret Presidential trips. But he redeemed himself by accepting the role of president of Barkers for Britain, a dog lovers organization whose members supported British people affected by WWII.

    Pete the Squirrel

    President Warren G. Harding (1921-1923)
    Pete the Squirrel

    Navy Secretary Denby makes friends with Pete the squirrel on the White House lawn.

    Rebecca the Raccoon

    Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)
    Rebecca the Raccoon

    First Lady Grace Coolidge shows off her pet raccoon, Rebecca. Other Coolidge pets included two canaries named Nip and Tuck, a goose called Enoch, and Smoky the bobcat. President Coolidge was also given a baby bear, two lion cubs, a wallaby and a miniature hippopotamus.

    Old Ike and the Flock

    Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)
    Old Ike and the Flock

    To cut groundskeeping costs during World War I, President Woodrow Wilson brought a flock of sheep to trim the White House grounds. Included in the flock was Old Ike, a tobacco-chewing ram.

    Pauline the Cow

    William Howard Taft (1909-1913)
    Pauline the Cow

    President William Howard Taft's cow, Pauline, poses in front of the Navy Building, which is known today as the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Pauline was the last cow to live at the White House and provided milk for President Taft.

    Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)
    Eli Yale, the Blue Macaw

    Teddy Roosevelt, Jr., son of President Theodore Roosevelt, poses with his blue macaw, Eli Yale.

    Algonquin the Pony

    Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)
    Algonquin the Pony

    Algonquin the pony once rode the White House elevator when he visited Roosevelt's sick son, Archie, at his bedside.

    Roosevelt's Rooster

    Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)
    One-Legged Rooster

    Seen here is the Roosevelt family's one-legged rooster. In addition to the pets in previous slides, they also kept a bear, a badger, a pig and a hyena as well as numerous ordinary pets.

    His Whiskers the Goat

    Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893) His Whiskers the Goat
    President Harrison gave his grandchildren a pet goat, His Whiskers, who would pull the children around in a cart. One day, His Whiskers took off through the White House gates as President Harrison chased them down Pennsylvania Avenue. For a while, the Harrisons also owned two opossums named Mr. Reciprocity and Mr. Protection.


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