In this election year, it’s important to remember the humanity of the people we’re voting for. TV and the Internet brings politicians into our home – or wherever we are – making them appear larger than life.
But love them or hate them, politicians and presidents are people, too, and nothing illustrates this more than a poignant picture gallery of world leaders and their closest allies – their pet dogs.
Checkers was a cocker spaniel given to him by a supporter. In 1952, Nixon made a speech denying allegations of misuse of campaign money, using Checkers as an example. It came to be known as the “Checkers Speech.”
This picture shows Roosevelt casually driving through Hyde Park, New York, with his beloved Fala riding shotgun. Everyone knew how much Roosevelt loved Fala, including his political enemies. A rumor that Roosevelt accidentally left Fala in the Aleutian Islands after a visit spread throughout the nation, one which Roosevelt denied in a speech – which became known as the “Fala Speech.”
Liberty, President Ford’s golden retriever, was photographed almost as much as the president was. She famously had a litter of puppies in the White House.
This photograph shows LBJ with his two beagles, named Him and Her, in a somewhat controversial pose. LBJ drew criticism for the way he “played” with Him and Her, often pulling their ears. After a similar photo was posted in a 1964 issue of Life Magazine, LBJ issued a public apology, saying: “I’ve been pulling Him’s ears since he was a pup, and he seemed to like it.”
Mildred “Millie” Kerr Bush sounds like the name of an aunt or grandmother. In fact, it was the full of name of the Bush’s beloved English Springer Spaniel, who was often referred to as “The Most Famous Dog in White House History.” Bush referenced her in a 1992 re-election speech, saying: “My dog Millie knows more about foreign policy than those two bozos!” (Referring to Bill Clinton and Al Gore.)
The Obama family is in love with Bo, their Portuguese Water Dog. He was chosen in part because of daughter Malia Obama’s need for a hypoallergenic dog (and because he’s adorable). In 2013, Bo was joined in the White House by Sunny, a female of the same breed.
The Clinton family acquired their beloved chocolate lab, Buddy, in December 1997. Unfortunately, the story of Buddy doesn’t have a happy ending. He was reportedly hit by a car in 2002, while playfully chasing a contractor leaving the Clinton’s personal residence. The Clintons were not present at the time, having left Buddy in the care of Secret Service agents.
Queen Elizabeth II has owned more than 30 dogs during her reign as queen. Currently, she has four corgis who (quite literally) live in the “lap of luxury.” From top left, they are: Willow, Vulcan, Candy and Holly.
All photos courtesy of NationalGeographic.com