Sunday, February 24, 2008

Calvin Coolidge's Many Presidential Pets

President Calvin Coolidge once said “Any man who does not like dogs and want them about, does not deserve to be in the White House.” This probably went for other animals as well, for Coolidge and his family acquired even more pets than the Roosevelts.

During Coolidge's two terms in office, the White House almost literally became a zoo. Exotic animals such as lion cubs, bears, an antelope, wallaby, bobcat and a pygmy hippo were all part of the menagerie. And, of course, there were more typical pets, over 12 dogs, 4 cats and at least 3 canaries.The Coolidges owned a beloved donkey named Ebeneezer, and commandeered one of the White House trees to build a special house for their 2 raccoons—Rebecca and Horace.

Rebecca was quite lively and enjoyed playing in the First Lady's bathtub with "a little water in it and a cake of soap." Another one of Rebecca's favorite games was climbing up the President and draping herself about his neck. The picture below shows First Lady, Grace Coolidge, out at the Easter Egg Roll with Rebecca.

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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