Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Presidential Pets: Hippos, Badgers & Cows (Oh My)

As Bo Obama, the presidential pooch, settles in to his second term of posing for White House Christmas cards and greeting Blue Room visitors, it's a good time to reflect on his predecessors. There's Barney the terrier, who bit reporters for George W. Bush. And Clinton's furry pals Socks the cat and Buddy the Labrador. But others in the first menagerie have been a bit more peculiar:

*  Adams-Hoover alligators - The Marquis de Lafayette gifted John Quincy Adams with a gator, which Adams housed in the White House bathtub. A century later Herbert Hoover outdid him by having two pet alligators that waddled the West Wing.

*  Josiah the badger - In 1903, a girl in wee-town Kansas asked the visiting Teddy Roosevelt if he would like a badger. "I said I would," and so Josh (Teddy's nickname for his new pet) rode the train back to Washington with the prez, joining his hog, rat, macaw and one-legged rooster.

*  Pauline Wayne the cow - A Wisconsin senator gave Pauline, a bodacious Holstein, to William Howard Taft, who let her graze the White House lawn throughout his term. The trade-off? Miss Wayne provided milk for the first family.

*  Billy the pygmy hippo - "Hmm," thought rubber maker Harvey Firestone. "What'll I do with this pygmy hippo that's wandered onto my Liberian rubber plantation? I know: I'll give it to Calvin Coolidge!" For the record, Coolidge already owned a wallaby, a duiker and a raccoon.

For more on Washington, check out recent posts on DC's top 10 free things to do; the city's scandal sites; and the lowdown on its giant hairballs and bong museums.

No comments:

Post a Comment