Tag Archives: White House

Liberty & Peace

This is one lucky bird.

Thanksgiving turkeys have been presented intermittently to presidents since the Lincoln administration in the 1860s, but those turkeys were roasted for the Thanksgiving table. Presidents have pardoned turkeys since Harry Truman began the tradition in 1942.


Liberty, along with his feathered friend, Peace, were chosen from a flock of 30 birds from a Minnesota farm and raised by nearby high school students. On Wednesday, President Obama, grinning, raised his hand over Liberty and pronounced it safe from slaughter. Liberty and its alternate, Peace, will live out their days at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate.

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Posted by on November 25, 2011 in Better Life, Famous Furr


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FDR & Fala

In the 20th century, presidential pets began to capture the hearts of the American public, perhaps none more popular than first dog Fala, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s beloved Scottish Terrier who moved to the White House in 1940. As a key part of FDR’s public image, Fala followed the president everywhere, including meetings with foreign heads of state (whom he was known to delight with his tricks). His international adventures were widely reported in the media. Fala soon needed a secretary to handle the thousands of letters from fans.

On September 23, 1944, FDR delivered his famous “Fala speech” in which he quipped, “You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers – in Congress and out – had concocted a story that I’d left him behind on an Aleutian island and had sent a destroyer back to find him – at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or 20 million dollars – his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since.”

When FDR died in 1945, Fala went to live at the family home with Eleanor Roosevelt. According to the widowed Roosevelt, Fala would constantly lie near the door and await his master’s return. When Fala died seven years later, he was buried alongside FDR and became the only presidential pet to be memorialized in statue.


For a more complete history of the White House’s Presidential pets, visit Petcentric.


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Abe’s Cats

We are odd indeed to think that we alone of all God’s creatures are worthy of recognition for I am certain beyond question that when the last day arrives, our company will swell with fox, raven, hare, and rat, and when we are finally admitted we will see sharpening her nails upon His most resplendent throne, God’s favorite unrepentant calico cat. — Mary Margaret Carlisle


Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth President, loved cats and could play with them for hours. When asked if her husband had a hobby, Mary Todd Lincoln replied, “cats.” Abraham Lincoln came into presidential office accompanied by Tabby, his son’s cat. Tabby was the first of several White House cats, and the first of four cats that lived in the White House with him. 

Although dogs tend to be a more traditional presidential pet, several presidents have had cats, including Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Bill Clinton.


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We Are Siamese if You Please

Siamese cats are a popular breed in the United States, and they earned their right to be here in a most historic way.  In 1878, David Sickels, the American Diplomat stationed in Bangkok, had the privilege of meeting President Rutherford B. Hayes and First Lady, Lucy Hayes, and discovered that the Hayes family not only loved animals – they kept two dogs, a goat and a mockingbird at the White House– but that Lucy dearly loved cats.  After a search for the very best he could find, Sickels sent Mrs. Hayes a Siamese cat named Siam, the first ever of its breed to enter the United States.  Fanny Hayes, daughter to the President and First Lady, fell in love with Siam as did the entire White House staff.  The good natured and compellingly beautiful animal was allowed to roam the White House freely and would often happen into staff meetings and dinners.  Only a year later the beloved Siam died, but he left a stunning impression.  His care in his final illness and the transport of his body after his death involved Hayes’ personal physician, Dr. J.H. Baxter, the Secretary of War, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the President’s personal steward, Billy Crump.  The country mourned with the Hayes family over the loss of their precious Siam, and as a result the breed became a favorite of the American elite.


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