The Top 5 Presidential PetsPublished December 15, 2008
Petside.com has compiled a list of the most popular pets in politics. These "First Pets" were loved by America and in some cases even influenced the course of history. Did your favorite make the list?
#5 Him and Her (Lyndon Johnson 1963-1969)
Him and Her were brother and sister Beagles born on June 27, 1963. Johnson often played with the two on the White House lawn. Two of Him's puppies, Freckles and Kim, were kept by Johnson's daughter Luci. During his presidency, Johnson also had three other dogs, J. Edgar, Blanco and Yuki.
- These popular pups once made the cover of Life magazine.
- Johnson created a firestorm of protest in 1964 after lifting Him's front paws off the ground by his ears.
#4 Rex (Ronald Reagan 1981-1989)
Rex was a Cavalier King Charles spaniel owned by Nancy and Ronald Reagan. The former President gave Rex to the First Lady as a Christmas present in 1985. Rex is thought to be named for Rex Scouten, a former White House chief usher. Rex lived to age 13.
- Rex helped throw the switch to light up the 1985 National Christmas Tree.
- Rex had an extravagant doghouse that included curtains and framed pictures of the President and First Lady.
#3 Socks (Bill Clinton 1993-2001)
Socks moved into the White House with the Clintons in 1993. He was the first cat to live in the White House since Amy Carter's cat, Misty Malarky Ying Yang. When the Clintons left the White House in 2001 Socks was left under the care of Bill Clinton's secretary, Betty Currie.
- Books written about Socks include Socks Goes to Washington: The Diary of America's First Cat and a collection of letters from children written to Socks and his canine White House companion Buddy.
- Socks was featured in a December 1993 episode of the sitcom Murphy Brown entitled Sox and the Single Girl.
- Socks was to be the topic of a cancelled 1993 video game entitled Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill.
#2 Millie (George Bush 1989-1993)
Mildred Kerr Bush, or Millie, was a Springer spaniel owned by the Bush family. She was named after the Bush's longtime friend Mildred Caldwell Kerr. In 1997 Millie died of pneumonia at age 12.
- Millie is the only First Pet to write a book. She is credited as the author of Millie's Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush.
- Millie had puppies while living at the White House. One of her puppies is Spot, who is now also a presidential pet owned by George W. Bush.
#1 Checkers (Richard Nixon 1969-1974)
Checkers was an American cocker spaniel born in 1951. Checkers was given to the Nixon family by a Texas supporter after he read that Nixon's daughters wanted a dog. The dog is buried at Long Island's Bide-a-Wee Pet Cemetery.
- "The Checkers Speech" is one of Nixon's most famous speeches. In 1952 Nixon had been accused of accepting illegal campaign contributions while a vice-presidential nominee. In a live address to the nation, later dubbed the "Checkers speech," he revealed that the only gift he had ever accepted was a cocker spaniel and that "the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we're gonna keep it." The speech is widely considered to have saved Nixon's vice-presidential candidacy.
Who do you think is the best First Pet ever? Leave a comment and share!
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