Lyndon Baines "Ear Puller" Johnson
Although Lyndon Baines Johnson - the 36th President of the United States - got a lot of static for the infamous "ear pulling" incident - he really was himself quite the dog lover. Two particular favorites were the beagles named Him and Her, who pretty much had the run of the White House. It was while he was out taking them for a walk that he did the ear-yank on Him that ended up getting featured in papers and magazines throughout the world.
Lyndon was also photographed treating his dogs nice. One photo showed Him laying on his back on the White House lawn while Lyndon scratches the dog's stomach. And there are pictures of the dogs obviously happy to see him as he comes into the room. Sometimes cabinet members and foreign dignitaries were also greeted by the very friendly dogs who sometimes got so excited at having visitors that there were - well - "accidents". What appears to have been Lyndon's last dog - which was actually a stray his daughter Luci found - was named Yuki. Yuki and Lyndon would - literally - sometimes have a howl together, and they'd go swimming in the pool along with Lyndon's baby grandson.
Most presidents have had pets and many people consider the #1 pet lover was Calvin Coolidge. Over the years he and his wife Grace owned two white collies, two brown collies, a terrier, a sheepdog, two chows, a bulldog, a German shepherd, a bird dog, two canaries, a thursh, a goode, a mocking bird, two cats, two raccoons, a donkey, and a bobcat.
However, we have to hand the top animal spot to Teddy Roosevelt. At one time or another, he and his family owned ten horses, a Shetland pony, a bull terrier, a Manchester terrier, a Saint Bernard, a retriever, a mixed breed dog , a Pekingese, some snakes, a macaw, two cats, two kangaroo rats, five Guinea pigs, a lion, a hyena, a wildcat, a coyote, five bears, two parrots, a zebra, a barn owl, a lizard, roosters, a hen, a pig, and a raccoon.
Another famous White House pet that appealed to the public was Gerald Ford's golden retriever, Liberty. Once when Liberty was sleeping in Gerald's bedroom, she had to take a welcome break. So the President and Liberty rode down the elevator and went outside only to find out when they got back that the elevator wouldn't run. So they went up the stairwell only to find the door at the top was locked. But then on trying all the other entrances on the staris, Gerald found they too were locked. He finally had to start pounding on the door until someone opened up.
Lyndon was certainly a more demanding of his employees than on his dogs. One time he was having dinner with some of his staff and Bill Moyers, his press secretary, was saying grace.
"Speak up, Bill!" Lyndon shouted, "I can't hear a damn thing!"
Bill replied, "I wasn't talking to you, Mr. President."
When he was the Senate Majority Leader, Lyndon could be a veritable slave driver. "What's the hurry?" one senator asked. "After all, Rome wasn't built in a day."
"No," replied Lyndon, "But Lyndon Johnson wasn't foreman on that job." You can read a bit more about Lyndon - and some of his - well - acquaintances if you just click here.
Say what you like about Lyndon's policies, his actions, and what he kept in his pocket, any man who likes dogs can't be all bad.
"White House Pets", Presidential Pet Museum.
"President Johnson's Dogs", Follow the Piper, November 26, 2010.
Presidential Anecdotes, Paul F. Boller, Oxford University Press, 1996.