“If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” The words of Harry Truman created a legacy of First Families that Barack Obama is not keen to break. Obama’s first Presidential decision is to choose the First Dog.
George Washington had ten hounds, Theodore Roosevelt had a Pitbull which was the first dog to single handedly attempt to start a war by removing the seat of the French Ambassador’s pants. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Scottie was the first First Dog to suffer malicious gossip at the pen of the press and Roosevelt responded ” I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself…I think I have a right to resent, to object to, libellous statements about my dog.”
President Kennedy brought the first communist dog into the White House when his daughter accepted a descendant of the Russian space dogs from Nikita Khrushchev. Kennedy also had a Welsh Terrier, proving to be global in his choice of dog. President Reagan was flamboyant with his choice of a Bouvier des Flandres.
Lyndon Johnson’s dogs of choice were Beagles. He almost became the first President to face the wrath of animal rights groups when caught on film picking his dogs up by the ears. Richard Nixon on the other hand escaped charges of accepting his Cocker Spaniel as a gift by making a stand on television, claiming that his kids loved the dog and “regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it”. The public voted in support of then vice-president Nixon and his Cocker Spaniel.
Gerald Ford also made use of his Golden Retriever, whistling her into boring meetings as a distraction. Millie the English Springer Spaniel of George Bush Sr had her own view on White House life and became a best seller with her book – dictated to First Lady Barbara Bush. Millie’s son born in the White House returned home with George W. Bush, who leaves his second term in office with two Scottish Terriers.
The Clinton’s stormy relationship was echoed by their Labrador and Sox the cat. Incidentally, it was Sox who landed the Clintons in hot water with animal rights groups when they chose to have him declawed to protect the antique furniture.
What will the Obama legacy be? Will he choose a large expensive dog in a time of economic crisis? Will he choose a small snappy dog that could cause an international incident? Will it be an American breed?
The Obama dog is likely to be hypo-allergenic due to his daughter Malia’s allergies. Will it be an American Hairless Terrier which would a good patriotic choice but would not make pretty photo shots on the White House lawn?
One thing for sure, Obama better choose wisely because many eyes will be on the fate of the First Dog. source
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