November 4, 2010
America’s Most Famous Political Pets
It’s all politics this week at Dog Tails. Tuesday was Election Day, and in honor of this annual tradition, Dog Tails is turning its attention to the pets of Washington, DC.
Small or large, young or old, cat or dog, Republican or Democrat, we salute all of the dogs who loyally follow their owners around the Oval Office or halls of Congress. The DogWatch Hidden Fences team dove into the past and came up with a list of the most memorable political pets. No matter which way you voted on Tuesday, we know you’ll love these famous furry friends!
Fala, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s dog
Fala is arguably the most famous political dog of all time. The Scottish terrier moved into the White House in 1940, at the beginning of Roosevelt’s third term. He soon became a regular fixture in the halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., begging for food and performing tricks for guests.
Fala also enjoyed traveling with his master, joining the President on his many trips across the country and around the world. In fact, the two were so inseparable that Fala is depicted alongside Roosevelt in his memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC (see picture at left). He is the only Presidential dog to be given such an honor.
Checkers, President Richard M. Nixon’s dog
Checkers, a cocker spaniel, never made it to the White House, but he still had a sizable impact on Presidential history. In 1952, then-Vice Presidential candidate Nixon was embroiled in a financial scandal. In an effort to save his candidacy, he gave a televised speech in which he spoke of his humble beginnings.
The most memorable line from the speech referred to his dog, Checkers, who had been given to Nixon for his then-6-year-old daughter by a campaign donor. “Regardless of what they say about it, we’re going to keep him,” he said. The address became known as the “Checkers Speech,” and not only did it save Nixon’s candidacy, but it is now a term used to describe any heart-tugging speech given by a politician.