The history of the United States could be told through the eyes of presidential pets from Vulcan, Sweetlips, and Scentwell (George Washington’s American foxhounds) to Bo and Sunny (Barack Obama’s Portuguese water dogs). And while President Donald Trump has been busy filling federal positions since 2017, there is one post he wasn’t interested in filling: that of FDOTUS — First Dog of the United States (via GQ). As Barbra Streisand wondered to the Los Angeles Times in 2018, “How does the president not have a dog? He’s the first president in 120 years that doesn’t have a dog in the White House.” The LA Times helpfully pointed out that the last poochless president who entered the White House was William McKinley, who became president in 1897.
Trump’s ex-wife Ivana (who owned a dog) confirmed in her book that “Donald was not a dog fan,” and that her poodle Chappy would “bark at him territorially.” She also wondered, “How can you not love a dog that acts like he’s won the lottery for life just because he sees you walk through the door?”
Trump passed on an offer of a Goldendoodle
It’s not that there weren’t opportunities. One Florida philanthropist named Lois Pope tried to gift Trump with a Goldendoodle named Patton, and she was sure the Trumps would adopt him. “I’m sure. Every president has a first dog. It goes with the presidency,” she told The Washington Post in 2016. Fast forward to today and we know for a fact that Patton never made it past the gates.
President Trump had a handy answer to the dog question in 2019, when at a rally in El Paso he told crowds, “You do love your dogs, don’t you? I wouldn’t mind having one, honestly, but I don’t have any time. How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn?” When supporters pressed him for a reason why dogs weren’t on his agenda, he replied, “I don’t know, I don’t feel good,” he said. “Feels a little phony to me” (via The Washington Post).
Which is a shame, because as dog historian and author Brooke Janis told The Washington Post (via GQ): “”This is a president who needs a friend. Having a dog offers unconditional love and that is something this president desires so deeply and can’t seem to find.”
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