A love of animals seems to transcend politics. I certainly hope it does!

Most of us love animals. We feel a connection to another species on Earth, and that fascinates us, even if the animal we love remains unimpressed.

Pets have been an interesting, if not important, part of family life at the White House. Of course, I think pets are important to one’s happiness and we want the First Family to be happy.

The Bidens will bring two German Shepherds with them to Washington, D.C., in January. Here are some other interesting facts about first pets:

• The first White House dog to receive regular newspaper coverage was Warren G. Harding’s dog Laddie Boy.

• George Washington’s family included a variety of pets, from black and tan coonhounds to donkeys to a parrot.     

• Dick the mockingbird was the favorite of at least four mockingbirds owned by Thomas Jefferson. He also had a wide variety of other species of animals.

• John Quincy Adams had silkworms, which provided First Lady Louisa Adams material for her their silk.

• Andrew Jackson had Polly the grey parrot and several fighting chickens.

• William Henry Harrison had a cow and a goat.

• John Tyler owned an Italian greyhound, a canary and a horse.

• Millard Fillmore’s ponies were named Mason and Dixon.    

• Andrew Johnson fed white mice he found in his bedroom.

• In addition to eight dogs of varying breeds, Rutherford B. Hayes owned two Siamese cats, the first in the United States.

• It’s almost unbelievable, but Benjamin Harrison had a goat, a collie, two possums and two alligators. Thank you, President Harrison, for keeping it interesting.

• William McKinley had angora kittens, roosters and a yellow-headed parrot who could whistle "Yankee Doodle."

• Theodore Roosevelt had too many pets to name, but they include guinea pigs, a hen, a lizard dogs, a badger, a one-legged rooster and a black bear from West Virginia named Jonathan Edwards.

• Woodrow Wilson kept as many as 48 sheep because they kept the White House lawn trimmed "in the most economical way."     

• Calvin Coolidge was Dad to many dogs and birds, was well as a donkey and, briefly, a raccoon.

• John F. Kennedy had dogs, cats, birds, ponies and a rabbit. Daughter Caroline raised ducklings in the White House until their terrier terrorized them and they were send to Rock Creek Park.

• Lyndon B. Johnson was a beagle lover, but also had hamsters and lovebirds.

(606) 326-2661 |

lward@dailyindependent.com

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