Happy Presidential Pets Day

MOUNT VERNON LADIES' ASSOCIATION

The idea of the Presidential Pet is as old as the office of President itself, and there have been only a few times in our nation’s history when animals did not roam through the halls of the White House. In honor of Presidents Day, we’ve combed through the history books, found ten presidents whose pets would have loved a KONG toy and made some recommendations for the Commander-in-Chief:

1. The Hounds of George Washington  (Sweet Lips, Tipsy, Tipler, Cloe, Searcher, Drunkard, Mopsey, Pilot, Tartar, Jupiter, Trueman, Truelove, Juno, Duchess, Ragman, Countess, Lady, Rover, Vulcan, Singer, Must, Tiyal, Forrester, Captain, and Madam Moose)

Our recommendation: KONG Wobbler

We were going to recommend the classic KONG for the canine companions of our first and most iconic president, but after hearing what mealtimes were like in the White House, the Wobbler was the obvious choice. Evidently, mealtime for the hounds was so intense that Washington had to assign a servant to monitor the dogs so that they didn’t tear each other apart over food.  Vulcan, a black hound so large that “a young boy could ride him like a pony,” had a taste for Virginia hams, and once took an entire one off the table and back to his kennel, much to the chagrin of Martha Washington and delight of the President. With each hound working away at his Wobbler, instead of each other, mealtime would have been much more manageable, especially for that poor servant!

2. The Briards of Thomas Jefferson

Our recommendation: KONG Classic

Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette are credited with bringing the ancient and noble Briard to America. Depictions of the breed date back to the 8th century and Briards have been favorites of such leaders as Charlemagne and Napoleon. With a strong herding instinct, Briards lead instead of follow. That sounds like a perfect fit for the KONG Classic, which has been the gold standard of dog toys for more than 36 years.

3. Mrs. Dolley Madison’s green parrot

Our recommendation: Small Animal KONG

Birds need to play too, a fact the “first” First Lady would not have missed. Equally renowned for her wildly entertaining gatherings and her contributions to the White House’s interior design, a Small Animal KONG, both stylish and engaging, would have been the perfect toy for her avian companion.

4.  Martin Van Buren’s tiger cubs

Our recommendation: KONG Ballistic

At times, it seems like the White House is a zoo and it almost became a real one when the sultan of Oman gave Van Buren two tiger cubs. Van Buren would have kept them had Congress not “insisted” that he donate the cats to the zoo. During their short stay, KONG Ballistic rings, with their multi-layered design, would have been the ideal toy for the cubs. Van Buren could also have donated KONG Ballistic toys to the zoo as well; the big cats at the National Tiger Sanctuary sure like them!

Photo courtesy of the National Tiger Sanctuary in Saddlebrooke, MO

5. Jip, Abraham Lincoln’s loyal friend

Our recommendation: ZoomGroom

To say that Lincoln had a stressful presidency would be an understatement. Luckily, he had Jip. The small yellow dog was never far from Lincoln’s side and loved to sit on the President’s lap, even during mealtime. Lincoln’s nurse, Rebecca Pomroy, believed Jip’s presence helped relieve Lincoln of “some portion of the burden, for the little fellow was never absent from the Presidential lunch. He was always in Mr. Lincoln’s lap to claim his portion first, and was caressed and petted by him through the whole meal.”  The gentle rubber fingers of a ZoomGroom would have allowed both the President and loyal friend to relax just a little as they listened to news of the war.

6. Siam, Rutherford B. Hayes Siamese kitten

Our recommendation: Kickeroo and the Scratch Apple

While not the first house cat to roam the halls of the White House, Siam was the first of his kind not only in the Executive Residence but in the entire country. One of the first Siamese cats documented outside of Asia, Siam was well loved by family, staff and guests alike and treated almost like royalty. Siam had free reign of the grounds and we can imagine the White House columns bore one or two scratch marks. What better way to keep this regal and playful animal happy than the fluffy tail of a Kickeroo and a scratch toy filled with catnip?

7. Sailor Boy, Teddy Roosevelt’s Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Our recommendation: Wet Wubba, KONG Aqua and Chase-It

Teddy Roosevelt kept quite the collection of animals at the White House, and while Sailor Boy may have been one of Roosevelt’s less exotic pets, the Chessie seems to epitomize the 26th President, due to his love of hunting and affinity for water (along with beginning work on the Panama Canal, did you know Roosevelt spent a year exploring a newly discovered river in the Amazon?). The Wet Wubba, KONG Aqua and Chase-It would have satisfied the natural instincts of Sailor Boy who, like his owner, probably couldn’t sit still for long.

8. Fala, FDR’s Scottish Terrier

Our recommendation: Cozies

Franklin Delano Roosevelt began his presidency during one of the lowest points in our nation’s history, but he never gave up hope. Neither did Fala, one of the most famous presidential pets.  A subject of films, radio broadcasts, and even cartoons, Fala was so popular, he had his own secretary to answer all his mail. Like Lincoln’s Jip, Fala almost never left FDR’s side. He traveled constantly with the President and entertained leaders all over the world. Fala spent as much time reassuring America as the President did, but while FDR had Fala to help relieve the stresses of the Great Depression and World War II, who did Fala have? A soft, cuddly KONG Cozie would have been a great companion for Fala to curl up with during one of FDR’s fireside chats.

9. Spot, First Dog of George W. Bush (and George H. W. Bush)

Our recommendation: KONG Senior

This recommendation is for Spot’s second term as First Pet.  His mother, Millie, was the famous canine companion of George H.W. Bush., and Spot was born at the White House during the last year of the senior Bush’s presidency. Spot lived a full life before making his triumphant return to the presidential household at the ripe old age of 11 and much of the duties of First Dog fell to his housemate, Barney. The KONG Senior would have been a perfect toy for him during his golden years.

10. Bo Obama

Our recommendation: We were going to recommend a Classic Goodie Bone for Bo, but it looks like he already knows about it!

Photo courtesy of @FLOTUS, Michelle Obama’s official Twitter account