Friday, February 22, 2008

Presidential Pets

President Theodore Roosevelt was a devoted father and animal lover. When it came to his six children, he could deny them nothing and so, from the average to the exotic, the White House teemed with well over 35 different pets.

Daughter Alice had a Garter Snake who was named Emily Spinach because the snake was "as green as spinach and as thin as my Aunt Emily." While on a trip to the Far East, Alice was gifted a black Pekingese puppy by the last Empress of China. Alice called the dog Manchu, and claimed he danced in the moonlight on his hind legs.

The family hosted a macaw named Eli Yale, a badger named Josiah, and five bears, one of which was named Jonathan Edwards. Kangaroo rats, lizards, raccoons and a even a lion were just some of the animals that graced the grounds of the White House.

When Roosevelt's third son, Archie, took ill, his brothers attempted to cheer him by bringing his pony, Algonquin, up to his sick room for a visit. Algonquin got so intrigued with his own reflection in the elevator mirrors, that the boys had a difficult time getting him out. Below is a picture of a healthier Archie astride his Shetland pony, Algonquin.

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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