This blog always strives to be an educational platform for our clients. However, earlier this week it came to my attention that September 23rd is National Dog in Politics Day. Not to be confused with dog politicians, a great idea in my opinion, September 23rd celebrates all the adorable pets owned by various Heads of State. I spent the better half of a day falling into an internet hole researching the cute dogs, cats and other bizarre animals that have lived with our Presidents and States People. I’ve decided to share my personal favorites with you! Let’s celebrate the only true non-partisan issue in Washington: adorable animals.
The Kennedys owned various pets during their time at the White House but none were as famous as little Pushinka. Pushinka was a gift from Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev. She was a symbol of good will and cooperation during a particularly tense Cold War period. The scraggly mutts good looks are enough to earn her an honorable mention however, it’s her out of this world pedigree that makes her so special. Pushinka is the daughter of Strelka: one of the famous Soviet-Space Dogs. Pushinka’s mother had successfully been launched into orbit in August 1960 making her among the first earth born creatures to survive a trip to space. I think everybody can appreciate the cosmic cuteness of Pushinka.
Bo & Sunny Obama
Who could forget Bo and Sunny? This adorable duo wreaked havoc in the White House during President Barack Obama’s terms in office. Frequently photographed running the lawns with staff family and staff, these Portuguese Water dogs had no qualms stealing the spotlight. Who can forget that picture of puppy Sunny chasing the President during an afternoon game of fetch? Not I and neither should you. I highly encourage you google these two and enjoy some unadulterated doggy joy.
Barney & Mizz Beazley Bush
Let’s take a moment to appreciate this candid photo of President George W. Bush getting kisses from sweet Barney. Barney Bush was a gift from former President George H. W. Bush to Bush Jr. after winning the 2000 Presidential election. Four years later, President George W. Bush presented Mizz Beazley to First Lady Laura Bush as a birthday present. The two Scottish Terriers inspired immediate fandom resulting in a government website dedicated to Barney as well as a ‘Barney Cam’. You can still visit the archived websites if you like. If that wasn’t enough to keep these political pooches busy both dogs have starred in a total of nine movies. Impressive indeed.
Larry of 10 Downing Street
So far, we’ve covered three adorable White House dogs. Now we take a jump across the pond to 10 Downing Street to meet our next political pet who’s in a class of his own. Meet Larry the Chief Mouser of the Cabinet Office. Yes – that is his official title. Larry is in the employ of the British Government. He first came to 10 Downing Street, the residence of the Prime Minister, during David Cameron’s term. His main function is to help exterminate any mice in the building. Several employees of the Prime Minister personally pay for his living expenses. Larry still lives at 10 Downing however, it’s reported that his current relationship with Prime Minister Theresa May is more volatile than her predecessor. Prime Minister May is admittedly a ‘dog-person’; something I will try hard not to hold against her. If you’re interested in checking up on Larry head over to his twitter page where he regularly provides political commentary and passes judgement on Theresa May’s dancing skills.
To be honest I don’t think there’s much more I need to say here. One look at Lennu’s smile and even the frostiest of hearts melts. Lennu is the beloved fur child of President Sauli Niinsto. He is referred to as the First-Dog of Finland. The New York Times wrote an entire article about how distracted they were by Lennu’s charisma during an official state event in Finland. And how could they not be? Lennu regularly accompanies his dad and mom to events and is photographed with his signature grin. I can’t find any official websites dedicated to Lennu but I think a general google image search should satisfy your Lennu needs.
Before we get to the big reveal for the coveted top spot here are some honorable mentions that didn’t make the list but are truly special…
The Hoover Alligators
President Herbert Hoover owned two pet Alligators that lived in the various ponds on the White House property. Funnily enough I could not find any pictures of them but it’s been reported that they freely wandered the grounds.
Coolidge Pygmy Hippopotamus
In your downtime I highly recommended googling “Billy the Pygmy Hippopotamus”. He was owned by President Calvin Coolidge. It seems the Coolidge family had several bizarre pets. While you’re at it look at their pet raccoon too. You won’t regret it.
Wilson’s flock of sheep/Old Ike
President Woodrow Wilson owned a flock of sheep that ranged on the grounds of the White House. They were said to help with any overgrowth of weeds. President Wilson had a special relationship with a ram named Old Ike how is reported to have enjoyed chewing tobacco. How quaint.
And finally, the pièce de résistance of political pooches. Our unequivocal first place spot goes to…
Her Royal Highness’ Corgis
I challenge you to think of a more famous political pet. In all fairness, there is no ONE corgi. Queen Mother’s obsession began as a young girl. Her father, King George VI, owned a male corgi named Dookie. Her Royal Highness was gifted her first corgi at 18. Since then, she has owned over 30 corgis. If you’re interested in learning about all the saucy details of the Royal Corgis head over to their official Wikipedia. You can read about the tantalizing past of some of her more controversial pooches. Buckingham Palace has recently released a statement on the Queen’s behalf announcing that she will no longer be breeding any new corgis for fear that they will outlive her. We may not always have Queen Elizabeth II but let’s hope that the Monarchy will continue its tradition of entertaining royal pets for decades to come.
There you have it. A list of my favorite political pets. I hope you’ve all enjoyed the change of pace around here. Next week we’ll go back to our usual format. For now, let’s just revel in the fact that our world leaders’ are just as pet obsessed as the rest of us.