President Harry Truman reportedly once said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”
So as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to move into the White House in a few weeks, will he adopt a pet to move with him? Nearly every president has had at least one pet while in office, but not everyone has followed Truman’s advice and brought a dog.
Some unconventional pets have roamed the White House halls. Presidents John Quincy Adams and Herbert Hoover reportedly both had alligators while in office. President Theodore Roosevelt’s family had a black bear, a macaw and a hyena — among other animals.
Decades ago, it was fairly common for presidents to have livestock grazing on the White House lawns. President William Taft was the last president to have a cow at the White House, and President Woodrow Wilson kept sheep during World War I, to support the troops abroad.
Other presidents embraced the maxim that “Dogs are a man’s best friend.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s dog, Fala, was a constant companion during his time as commander in chief (a statue of Fala is on prominent display at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial). While in the White House, First Lady Barbara Bush’s dog, Millie, “authored” a bestselling book.
In addition to providing companionship and unconditional love, presidents have benefited from having pets in the White House from a public relations perspective. They’ve also frequently received pets as gifts: Most recently, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy gave the Obamas their first White House dog, Bo. The first family adopted their second dog, Sunny, in August 2013.
As far as the public knows, the Trumps currently do not own any dogs. It was falsely reported that the family has a yellow Labrador named Spinee, but the New York Times reports that this story was an Internet hoax. Some reports say that Trump may adopt a goldendoodle named Patton, who, according to the Washington Post, is currently owned by a Palm Beach, Fla. philanthropist.
Watch full live coverage of the inauguration of Donald J. Trump on Jan. 20, 2017, led by Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric on Yahoo.com.