Presidents and Pets

Why all the dogs in the White House?

Nearly all of our nation’s leaders have owned dogs during their administrations. These pets not only provided love and companionship, but helped boost the presidents’ popularity with voters.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s constant companion, Fala, is credited with cinching his owner’s fourth term in office.

The black Scottish Terrier accompanied Roosevelt during a trip to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, where he was accidentally left behind. The president immediately ordered a Navy ship to retrieve him, but upon hearing of the incident, Republicans howled about wasting taxpayer dollars.

The president responded to the criticism in a speech to the Teamster’s Union in 1944, defending his Scottie. “I don’t resent attacks,” Roosevelt said. “And my family doesn’t resent attacks, but Fala does resent them. … His Scotch soul was furious.”

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