One of the nicest things about that is February is short and has a bunch of holidays.
There’s Ground Hog’s Day. There’s Valentine’s Day. And, finally, President’s Day, which commemorates George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Both who happened to own dogs.
George Washington was a hound man. He had black and tan coonhounds which are known for their ability to find and tree raccoons. They didn’t bark so much as bay, “Ah-rooo.” Washington’s hounds were named Drunkard, Taster, Tipler, and Tipsy. By George! Doesn’t that say a thing or two about the father of our country?
Abraham Lincoln had a yellow dog of uncertain ancestry named Fido. Lincoln may have loved Fido, but it was his cat, Dixie, that purred at the compliment, “Dixie is smarter than my whole cabinet.” Honest, Abe?
During the years, other presidential dogs have not only made the news, but affected the polls.
When Franklin D. Roosevelt ran for his fourth term, the story goes that his Scottish terrier, Fala, had accidently been left been behind in the Aleutian Islands. FDR was accused of allegedly spending thousands of taxpayer dollars to retrieve Fala. To this he replied, “You can criticize me, my wife and my family, but you can’t criticize my little dog. He’s Scotch and allegations about spending all this money have just made his little soul furious.” The Fala Speech helped secure FDR’s re-election.
Denying charges that he had accepted money from a secret slush fund, Richard Nixon addressed the public saying that the only gift he had accepted was a little spaniel named Checkers. Millions who watched The Checkers Speech on TV were endeared by the little black and white dog. And Nixon’s place as Eisenhower’s running mate was secured.
On the other hand, Lyndon Johnson damaged his image when he was photographed picking up one of his beagles by the ears.
Dogs haven’t been the only presidential pets. John Quincy Adams owned silkworms. Martin Van Buren briefly owned two tiger cubs. And Andrew Johnson fed mice that he found in his bedroom, although it isn’t clear whether they were pets or permanent White House inhabitants.
So enjoy the holiday and, hopefully, a day off with your dog, cat, silkworms or mice.