Willow Biden joins lengthy and diverse line of White Home pets

NEW YORK (AP) — Welcome, Willow, to a protracted line of presidential pets.

President Joe Biden and first girl Jill Biden have added a green-eyed tabby from Pennsylvania to the White House family, the primary feline tenant since President George W. Bush’s controversially named cat India.

The two-year-old Willow joins Commander, a lately acquired German shepherd pet who follows two different German shepherds, Champ and Main. Champ died in June at age 13, whereas Main, a 3-year-old rescue, was despatched off to a quieter life after behaving aggressively.

With Presidents James Okay. Polk and Donald Trump among the many no-pets exceptions, animals have a protracted historical past within the White Home.

Highlights of previous presidential pets:


There have been a couple of ponies and plenty of horses, together with the very first pets to occupy the White Home with President John Adams and first girl Abigail. They’d horses named Cleopatra and Caesar, together with canines Juno and Devil.

Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of John F. Kennedy, and her associates famously loved driving her pony Macaroni on the South Garden, together with one other one named Tex, however Macaroni was often stabled on the Kennedy household house in Virginia.

The White Home as soon as had stables of its personal utilized by many presidents, the final being Theodore Roosevelt. The Tough Rider and ex-ranch proprietor liked horses. Sons Quentin and Kermit as soon as smuggled their pony Algonquin onto the second flooring of the White Home in an elevator to go to a sick sibling, mentioned Andrew Hager, a presidential pet historian from the unofficial on-line Presidential Pet Museum.

The White Home stables had been broken in a fireplace in 1864, killing a number of horses and ponies of Abraham Lincoln and his kids. One account has a distraught Lincoln making an attempt in useless to avoid wasting son Tad’s pet pony.


Whereas canines have been extra frequent residents, there have been loads of cat individuals within the White Home: The Clintons, the Carters and the Fords to call a couple of.

It was India, nonetheless, who sparked protests in 2004 amongst nationalists in Kerala, India’s southernmost state. They thought of the identify an insult.

Lincoln and first girl Mary Todd additionally saved cats, Hager mentioned.

“There’s a narrative that he would feed one in all his cats from the plates within the White Home eating room, then his spouse objected and he mentioned one thing like, ‘Nicely, if these plates had been adequate for James Buchanan, they’re adequate for the cat,’“ he mentioned.

Caroline Kennedy briefly had a cat, Tom Kitten (aka Tom Terrific) however he made her allergy-prone dad sneeze and was despatched off to reside with a staffer. The media was invited to take images of Tom Kitten upon his arrival in 1961. He lasted just a few weeks on the White Home.

William McKinley had two Angora kittens named Valeriano Weyler and Enrique DeLome, together with roosters and a parrot he named Washington Put up, Hager mentioned.


There have been oh so many canines. The Obama’s Bo, a male Portuguese water canine, joined the household on the White Home in April 2009. Sunny, a feminine of the identical breed, got here alongside in August 2013.

Amongst President John Tyler’s pets had been a pair of “mild big” Irish wolfhounds. He gave them to his second spouse, Julia, as a present. Theodore Roosevelt, an avid animal lover, had a pack of canines, snakes, guinea pigs and, by one account, a one-legged rooster.

Kennedy was gifted the mixed-breed Pushinka by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.

Franklin Roosevelt had a number of pets however his favourite was a canine named Fala, named for a household ancestor. (Fala’s full identify: Murray the Outlaw of Falahill.) He was typically seen on the thirty second president’s facet, till Roosevelt’s loss of life in 1945. Given to the Roosevelts by a cousin, the Scottish terrier outlived him by seven years and was buried close by.

Maybe essentially the most well-known of canines was Checkers, although he had his popping out earlier than Richard Nixon grew to become president. As Dwight Eisenhower’s vice presidential working mate in 1952, Nixon vowed to maintain the cocker spaniel given to his household by a Texas supporter amid allegations he misused marketing campaign contributions.


Phrase has it that Andrew Johnson had no official pets however left a basket of flour and a few water for the resident White Home mice each night time and refused to have them exterminated.

“So I like to contemplate them pets however, you already know, that’s sort of an open query,” Hager mentioned.

Different presidents saved uncommon animals.

William H. Taft had two prize cows: Mooly Wooly and Pauline. They grazed on the White Home garden and offered the house’s milk and butter.

Theodore Roosevelt was gifted a badger by a woman in Kansas throughout a practice cease.

“He was actually excited, but it surely bit him so he wasn’t joyful about that,” Hager mentioned.

And Benjamin Harrison as soon as acquired two opossums from supporters in Maryland, naming them Mr. Reciprocity and Mr. Safety in homage to 2 of his social gathering’s political platforms.

A particular visitor on the 1927 White Home Easter Egg Roll? First girl Grace Coolidge’s beloved pet raccoon.

Woodrow Wilson, based on Hager, had a not-so-nice Shropshire ram named Previous Ike. In line with a newspaper account in 1920, the purebred ram was “forceful and strategic,” typically charging White Home workers and police. Wilson, the twenty eighth president, ultimately banished Previous Ike from the White Home to Maryland.

Previous Ike had a behavior of chewing tobacco. Cigars, to be actual. He’d feast on discarded cigar butts. In line with the ram’s obituary within the Spartanburg (S.C.) Herald in 1927, Previous Ike’s caretaker gave him one ultimate chew in his previous age, and “he dropped off peacefully munching it.”

The ram led a herd of sheep that saved the grounds trimmed up in a present by Wilson to tighten his belt and free the White Home gardeners to hitch the primary world conflict effort. Though many different presidents had livestock, Wilson auctioned off the flock’s fleece in 1919. Mixed, the public sale earned $58,823 for the Crimson Cross, an enormous sum on the time.

“Fortunately, we don’t need to pay that a lot for a sweater,” Hager mentioned.


Comply with Leanne Italie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/litalie


Conversations are opinions of our readers and are topic to the Code of Conduct. The Star doesn’t endorse these opinions.


Leave a Reply