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Presidential pets

Presidential pets

BY DR. MARTY BECKER

Knight Ridder Newspapers

(KRT) - From first president George Washington’s French foxhounds to current president George W. Bush’s Scottish terrier, Barney, purebred dogs in the White House are as traditional as baseball, apple pie and politics.

Yes, politics.

While we’re sure presidents have probably needed the unconditional love, limitless affection and to-die-for loyalty of pets more than any ordinary citizen, presidents and presidential candidates also realize that nothing humanizes them in the eyes of the electorate more that seeing them cuddle, coddle, or carry a pet.

Seeing images of them in the company of their pets makes us attach positive social attributes to them.

According to the American Kennel Club, other than the breeds owned by Washington and Bush, past presidents have shared the White House with Briards, Newfoundlands, Italian Greyhounds, English Mastiffs, Poodles, Collies, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Bouvier des Flandres, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Manchester Terriers, Bull Terriers, Bulldogs, Airedale Terriers, Chow Chows, Old English Sheepdogs, Fox Terriers, Elkhounds, Irish Wolfhounds, German Shepherds, Bullmastiffs, Irish Setters, English Setters, Great Danes, Weimaraners and Welsh Terriers.

Or who could forget Lyndon Johnson’s three Beagles named Him, Her and Edgar, Richard Nixon’s Cocker Spaniel, Checkers, George Bush’s English Springer Spaniel Millie who was the author of a bestselling book, and Bill Clinton’s loyal Chocolate Labrador Retriever named Buddy?

“No matter who wins on election day, the tradition of purebred pooches will continue,” said Gail Miller, Director of Media Relations for the American Kennel Club. “From a dog-eat-dog perspective, the election is really between Bush’s Scottie and Kerry’s German Shepherd.”

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(Dr. Marty Becker is the coauthor of the new book “Chicken Soup For The Horse Lover’s Soul” and a popular veterinary contributor for ABC TV’s “Good Morning America.” Write to him in care of Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, 700 12th St. NE, STE 1000, Washington, DC 20005.)


Posted by rosevine69 on 10/28 at 04:59 AM in Pet People

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