Contribuited by Paula Richards
From dogs and cats to sheep grazing on the lawn animals have long been part of life at the White House, but the early twentieth century saw the two largest and most varied critter populations.
Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909) and his family had a collection of the feathered and furred which included: dogs, cats, a pony, guinea pigs, a pig, chickens, a badger, a rat and a Macaw. Amongst them was Slippers, a six toed diva of a cat who would sleep
on the floor during banquets refusing to move for mere humans.
Another eclectic menagerie in the executive mansion resided with Calvin Coolidge(1923-1929) and his family. The Coolidge companions included various birds, cats, dogs, Rock Bass in the tub, ducklings, a raccoon named Rebecca and the even more exotic like William Johnson Hippopotamus, a gift from the people of Liberia, who resided at the National Zoo for over thirty years.
Timmy the cat allowed the family canary to nap between his paws while Tige enjoyed roaming the White House draped around the president's neck, a position which Rebecca the raccoon later took over.
Though most of us will never have such eclectic menageries, we would agree with first lady Grace Coolidge: "I am unable to understand how anyone can get along without some sort of pet."