In an age of often bitter partisan politics, The Associated Press celebrates White House residents with the widest bipartisan appeal – the first family’s pets.
The AP has published FIRST PET, a 128-page collection of revealing photographs documenting U.S. presidents and their pets through the decades.
Drawn from the AP’s vast photo library and enlivened with informative historical commentary, FIRST PET memorializes the special relationship of presidents and the animals they have brought into America’s most famous home.
Here are Franklin D. Roosevelt and his beloved Scottie, Fala; George H.W. Bush with his Springer spaniel Millie (who wrote a best-seller with the help of first lady Barbara Bush); Bill Clinton and his cat, Socks, and chocolate Labrador, Buddy; and Bo, the Portugese water dog the Obama family brought home to the White House last year.
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Here, too, are the more obscure pets the White House has hosted, such as President William Howard Taft’s pet cow Pauline Wayne, the Coolidges’ raccoons, and the young Caroline Kennedy’s pony, Macaroni, part of a family menagerie that also included two other ponies, a Guinea pig, assorted birds and a rabbit named Zsa Zsa.
In an introduction to this entertaining volume, Claire McLean, founder and director of the Presidential Pet Museum, writes: “Our presidents show goodness of heart during their private and personal moments with the animals with which they have bonded.”
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