Donald Trump Was the First US President in Nearly 130 Years Not to Have a Pet Dog in the White House

Donald Trump Was the First US President in Nearly 130 Years Not to Have a Pet Dog in the White House
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by James Devaney

In an unexpected break from tradition, Donald Trump became the first US President in nearly 130 years to occupy the White House without the company of a beloved canine companion. This unusual absence says something about the man who governed the country for four turbulent years, as it contradicted a practice honored by most American Presidents, regardless of party affiliation. While Trump's presidency has been distinguished by controversy, polarization, and unconventional decision-making, his lack of a four-legged companion in the White House may have been symbolic of a larger separation from time-honored conventions.

Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by James Devaney
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by James Devaney

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According to a 2017 report by The Independent, throughout American history, the presence of a dog has been inextricably linked to the presidency. The corridors of power have often rung with the consoling paws of man's best friend. Trump, however, appears to have chosen a different course.

Obama set an example by owning not one but two Portuguese water dogs named Sunny and Bo. President George W. Bush and his family brought not only two terriers and a spaniel to the White House but also a long-horn cow named Ofelia. President Bill Clinton, on the other hand, had a Labrador named Buddy, who was a permanent presence in the White House during his tenure. Franklin D. Roosevelt's beloved Fala was also a part of his life. 

Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Win McNamee
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Win McNamee

 

It's worth mentioning that Trump appeared to be breaking the norm by going dog-free. In 2016, there were speculations that he was thinking about adopting Patton, a Goldendoodle being fostered by a friend, Lois Pope. Pope, on the other hand, decided to keep Patton for herself, leaving Trump with no immediate plans to obtain a canine friend.

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William McKinley, who died of gangrene a year into his second term after surviving an assassination attempt, was the last President who did not have a dog. But his life was filled with a different kind of menagerie, including kittens, roosters, and a parrot.

Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Tasos Katopodis
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Tasos Katopodis

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Trump's Twitter feed revealed little about his thoughts about pets. While he was noted for his prolific tweeting on numerous topics, his dog-related tweets mostly consist of phrases like 'fired like a dog,' 'begging like a dog,' or 'choking like a dog.' Some have questioned if he actually understands dogs and their importance in people's lives as a result of these unflattering similes.

President Woodrow Wilson reportedly said that a dog's capacity to discern a person's character can be instructive. He said, "If a dog … will not come to you after he has looked you in the face, you ought to go home and examine your conscience." Despite not having a dog for the majority of his presidency, Wilson adopted a bull terrier named Bruce near the end of his second term.



 

 

While President Harry S. Truman was said to despise dogs, he received countless puppies as gifts throughout his presidency. These puppies were cared for by White House staff, demonstrating the presidency's continuous connection to the world of pets.

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