Hound History with Tami Harbolt: Continuing Education About the Human Animal Bond
Dogs in the White House
The White House has hosted many pets- ponies, sheep, parrots, rats, and even raccoons. But in 1921, during Warren G. Harding’s beleaguered administration, the only resident of the White House beyond reproach was an Airedale named Laddie Boy. Laddie Boy was probably the most popular and trusted member of Harding’s one term administration. He had his own newspaper column, birthday parties and his own chair as cabinet meetings. Laddie Boy represented President Harding’s interest in animal welfare and led a parade through Washington promoting the “Be Kind to Animals” campaign of the Humane Society. After he died, newsboys all over the country contributed pennies to have his statue made, and after 19,134 were donated, a copper statue of the dog was donated to the Smithsonian Institution, where it is housed today.
This month we will inaugurate a president who will bring two German shepherd to the White House- Major and Champ. Major was adopted from the Delaware Humane Association. Major is not the first rescue pet in the White House. LBJ had a rescue Beagle and Bill Clinton had a rescue cat named Socks. 100 years after Laddie Boy entertained the public, it will be great to see dogs on the White House lawn again!
Presidential Pets by Niall Kelly, New York: Abbeville Press Publishers, 1992.
Smithsonian Institution “Bronze Statue of Laddie Boy.” https://www.si.edu/object/siris_sic_7819