Pets at the White House
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About the Book


Pets at the White House provides a spectacular view into one of the most historic homes in the world and all of its four-legged, beaked, and pawed inhabitants—from ponies, puppies, and cats to parakeets, sheep, and even an alligator.

photo Interest in presidential pets has risen with the importance, power, and prestige of the American presidency.  The American public has an insatiable appetite for stories of everyday life in the White House, and the media obliges with increased coverage of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the pets that reside there.

This book brings it all to life.

With charm, wit, and compelling photographs, author Jennifer Pickens reveals how pets have played an important role in the White House throughout the decades, not only by providing companionship to the presidents and their families, but also by humanizing and softening their political images.  The book starts with the Kennedy family and their menagerie of pets and continues through 10 administrations and more than half of a century to the Obama family and First Dog Bo.    Throughout the pages are more than 200 exquisite photographs—images of presidents with their pets in quiet moments as well as more animated times of play—most of which have never been seen before.Pickens documents the lives of the most famous White House pets through fascinating and little-known anecdotes.  One such story involves the Soviet Prime Minister, who gave young Caroline Kennedy a puppy, which had to be put through a battery of tests in search of hidden listening devices and bombs.  There’s also the story of President Ford getting locked out of the White House when he took out his very pregnant dog Liberty in the middle of the night.  Another heart-warming tale:the custom birthing box created by White House carpenters for Millie while she was pregnant with presidential puppies during the first Bush Administration.  President George W. Bush’s Scottish terrier, Barney, became a celebrity in his own right, appearing in more than 10 films while he was at the White House.  And, most recently, President Obama made good on his promise to give his daughters a puppy, so they welcomed Bo, a Portuguese water dog, to the White House.

  Bo’s favorite food is tomatoes, by the way.


With a foreword by First Lady Barbara Bush, this book has earned the devotion of the recent United States First Families, many of whom penned a unique quote for their chapters.  This poignant collection of stories and photographs is a must-have for pet lovers and lovers of American history alike.