Americans love following the lives of presidential families, especially when it comes to their pets. Today, we’re profiling some of our favorite First Pooches and First Kitties!
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The two Obama girls had to do some serious campaigning to convince their parents to get a dog, but after all votes were tallied, they ended up with Portuguese water dogs Bo and Sunny. The allergy-friendly pups have had a ball with life at the White House as they visited the Children’s National Medical Center, inspected holiday decorations, greeted guests at the annual Easter Egg Roll, and dressed to the nines for a State Dinner.
Socks the cat didn’t have regal origins—he was an adopted stray—but he took to life at the seat of the first family just fine. Socks voted for the Clintons to be his family in 1991 when he leapt into daughter Chelsea’s arms as she was leaving from a piano lesson in Little Rock, Arkansas. Socks climbed the power ladder along with the Clintons, moving into the governor’s mansion and later White House, where he became the mascot for the children’s version of the White House website. After immediate and constant altercations with the Clinton’s new Labrador retriever, Buddy, Socks eventually moved in with former Clinton secretary Betty Currie and her husband. He passed away in 2009 at approximately 20 years old.
Feller was a pretty blonde cocker spaniel given to President Truman in 1947. The pup landed the president in hot water when he re-gifted the animal to White House physician Brig. Gen. Wallace Graham, which led to countrywide criticism. Dr. Graham grew tired of the bad press and moved Feller on to a naval aide. The dog passed through several other owners until finally landing with Archie Otis Lyle, father to another naval aide who had taken Feller as a pet but was then deployed. Feller finally lived a long, happy life on Lyle’s farm in Ohio until he died of old age.
One of the most famous presidential pets, Scottish terrier Fala was born in 1940 and died in 1952; he is buried in the White House Rose Garden next to the sundial near FDR. During his White House tenure, Fala was given a bone every morning on the president’s breakfast tray and a full dinner every night. During the day, he would make the rounds and beg for more food from the staff; he was so charming that he eventually became sick, so the staff was instructed not to feed him any more. Fala traveled with the president on both long and short trips by train, car, and boat. When the president was home, Fala slept on a special chair at the foot of the bed. The dog was so popular that he received thousands of letters and was awarded a secretary to answer his mail.