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Dog in Politics Day: 6 Dogs in Politics & Who Owns Them

Dogs in Politics Day is a day where people share pictures of their dogs and talk about the best dog in politics.

Dogs have been involved with politics for a very long time, but this blog post will discuss one specific day that evolved our love for our canine friends.

History of Dog in Politics Day

On September 23rd, 1952, former President Richard Nixon delivered a televised and radio address refuting the allegations that he had misused campaign funds and squandered them on personal expenses.

In his speech, which became known as the ‘Checkers Speech,’ he also stated that his family had acquired a black-and-white cocker spaniel named Checkers and that they would keep it regardless of what others thought.

History of Dog in Politics Day
(Source: https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2013/09/checkers-61/)

The Checkers Speech was seen by an estimated 60 million people and heard by millions more, with everyone impressed.

On that day, Nixon regained the public’s confidence and made his charges appear ludicrous because Checkers! Thus the Dogs in Politics Day became a known holiday, also known as National Checkers Day.

Other Dogs Involved in Politics

Unlike the Andrew Cuomo dog issue, several politicians prioritize their pets in their daily life. Since Dog In Politics Day 2021 is just around the corner, we will list six different dogs involved in politics and who owns them!

1. Buddy and Bill Clinton

When The Monica Lewinsky scandal was damaging bill Clinton’s reputation, and his daughter Chelsea was heading off to college, advisors felt that the presence of a presidential dog would help cement the public’s perceptions of him as a family man.

Buddy, a pleasant Chocolate Labrador, was chosen as the White House’s newest pet.

Buddy and Bill Clinton

In 1998, First Lady Hillary Clinton published a children’s book entitled “Dear Socks, Dear Buddy,” children wrote letters to Buddy.

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Even after the election, Bill and Hillary’s delightful dog remained a media darling. It’s unclear how successful they were in polishing Clinton’s tarnished reputation, but the adorable puppy was a favorite press subject.

2. Fala and Franklin D. Roosevelt

Like the ‘Checkers Speech,’ Franklin D. Roosevelt also mentioned his pup Fala during his fourth run for President in 1944.

The story of FDR’s dog was controversial among Republicans in the 1970s when they claimed that the President had abandoned his beloved pooch after an excursion to Alaska. It was also said that a US Navy destroyer was sent back at taxpayer expense to retrieve it.

Fala and Franklin D. Roosevelt
(Source: Politico)

FDR swiftly refuted the bogus claim, denouncing it as a lie in a speech on September 23rd.

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The speech was a tremendous success, and it aided FDR’s re-election. Fala outlived the former President and passed away at the age of 26 in First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

3. Bo, Sunny, and Barack Obama

After the election, Barack Obama promised his daughters Sasha and Malia a dog.

In 2009, Bo joined the Obama family at the White House as a present from Senator Edward Kennedy.

Bo, Sunny, and Barack Obama

In 2013, the Obama family adopted Sunny. While we only saw Bo and Sunny a few times, they made an indelible impact on the press.

With their fluffy coats and adorable faces, these Portuguese Water Dogs captured the hearts of everyone.

4. Rollo and Teddy Roosevelt

To put it mildly, Theodore Roosevelt loved spending time with animals.

During the administration of Teddy Roosevelt, the White House was a mini-zoo of dogs, cats, horses, a parrot, a badger, and even a tiny bear—some collected from distant locations throughout the world.

Rollo and Teddy Roosevelt
(Source: White House History)

Rollo, a kind Saint Bernard who was the children’s playmate and guardian, was one of them. One reporter was awed that Rollo provided a lot of protection, and it was evident from watching Rollo play with the youngsters on the White House lawn.

5. Rufus I, Rufus II, and Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, was an animal lover who owned (in succession) two chocolate brown poodles named Rufus.

Rufus I died in a vehicle accident in 1947, and Churchill purchased another poodle and renamed it ‘Rufus.’

Rufus I, Rufus II, and Winston Churchill
(Source: https://winstonchurchill.hillsdale.edu/brendon-bestiary-langworth/)

Rufus II was a constant companion of Churchill’s on his excursions, and it is claimed that no one in the Prime Minister’s household was permitted to start a meal until Rufus had been fed.

6. Liberty and Gerald Ford

Liberty, a gorgeous Golden Retriever, was the presidential pet of President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford—given by their daughter Susan Ford.

The adorable pup became a celebrity when the Ford’s decided to breed her in Oregon and gave birth to nine puppies inside the White House.

Liberty and Gerald Ford
(Source: Healthy Spot)

Did you also know that there was a golden retriever elected as mayor for 8 years in Idyllwild? That is how much faith and trust is put into these adorable animals, enough to take over the responsibilities of a politician!

Dogs in Politics Day is an annual event that recognizes some of the most influential dogs involved with politics. We hope you enjoyed this blog post about how our furry friends have influenced US history. What do you think? Do your pups make an excellent politician dog?

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