Celebrate National Dog Day with Our Fave Presidential Pups

Posted by Brian Morell
Dogs! Beloved across the nation, they have always been an important part of many presidencies, from the founding of our country to today. Because of this and their important place in American history, I propose that August 26, already declared National Dog Day, become recognized as a national holiday. And not just any national holiday, but a federally recognized one with a day off from work! We can hold puppy parades and dog parties to celebrate our canine friends. Think I’m joking? Maybe this official petition to the White House asking for a federally recognized day celebrating dogs will show you how serious I am! Dogs have played an important role in our history and it’s time they get their well-deserved recognition. Here are some of the Presidential Pups we should be celebrating on National Dog Day! 

Presidential pets have always been important to the leaders of our country, dating back to our first President, George Washington. He had horses and a donkey, but also had several dogs. Washington was actually very interested in breeding dogs, trying to make them faster and more agile, and even created a breed of foxhound that was called the Virginia Hound. He often detailed his progress with these dogs, writing fondly of Venus, Scentwell, and Truelove in his journals.
The first celebrity dog of the White House did not arrive until Warren G. Harding’s presidency. Laddie Boy, an Airedale Terrier, had his own special chair during cabinet meetings and even had birthday parties held in his honor, in which neighborhood dogs were invited to attend. After President Harding died suddenly in 1923, a statue was commissioned by newsboys in his honor. They collected thousands of pennies, which were melted down and sculpted into a statue of Harding’s beloved dog. The statue currently resides at the Smithsonian Institute. 
Franklin D. Roosevelt had a faithful Scottish Terrier named Fala, who followed the President everywhere. Fala was featured in a movie about life at the White House and was even used as a codeword for American soldiers to prove that they were not German infiltrators. Fala was also mentioned in a famous speech given in 1944, after the Republican party accused President Roosevelt of sending a Navy ship to rescue Fala after he was left on an Aleutian island during a tour of the region. Known as the “Fala Speech,” Roosevelt said that the accusations did not bother his family, “but Fala does resent them.” The speech was a hit and helped Roosevelt get elected for another term. 
Gerald Ford was given an eight-month old Golden Retriever puppy by his daughter at the start of his presidential term. Named Liberty, this dog was a fixture in the Oval Office. It was even said that Ford trained Liberty to go up to people when he wanted to end a conversation, making it seem like the dog was naturally interjecting. 
Ronald Reagan’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was given to him by William F. Buckley, Jr. in 1984. Rex soon became a beloved addition to the White House, but he didn’t like every part of the White House. Rex would not go into the allegedly haunted Lincoln Bedroom and would only stand outside, barking at the door. 
The Bushes, themselves a Presidential dynasty, started a Presidential dog dynasty as well. During George H. W. Bush’s presidency, an English Springer Spaniel named Millie roamed the White House. During that term, Millie gave birth to a litter of puppies, which included Spot Fetcher. Spotty, as she was called, became George W. Bush’s dog and when he became president, Spot Fetcher became the only pet to live in the White House during two different presidencies. 
Portuguese Water Dogs currently call the White House home. In 2008, Bo was welcomed to Washington after President Obama promised his daughters to get a dog. Bo became an instant hit thanks to gifs that were reblogged and retweeted across the internet. In 2013, Sunny joined Bo, thereby multiplying all the awesome dog gifs that the White House generates!