Did You Know a Bobcat Once Lived at the White House?
If you can learn something new every day, life will never be a snoozefest.
Today, I learned that President Calvin Coolidge was guilted into accepting a bobcat as a gift, and it briefly lived in the White House.
You see, today (Sep. 23) is Dogs in Politics Day. It's supposed to be a day for celebrating dogs that have played a part in American politics. While looking into this, I came across the Presidential Pet Museum's website and started clicking around.
The site is full of fascinating facts about presidential pets. For instance, FDR had a Scottish terrier named Fala, who was by his side almost constantly, even during several overseas trips. In fact, he remains by FDR's side today. Well, in a way. A statue of Fala stands next to a statue of FDR at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington D.C.
According to the Presidential Pet Museum, Fala was even the subject of a minor scandal, in which FDR had to give a speech to address rumors that he'd forgotten Fala during a trip to the Aleutian Islands and sent a Navy destroyer to pick him up at the taxpayer's expense.
I started taking a look at some of the exotic and weird pets our presidents have had, and while a bobcat may not be the weirdest furbaby to ever live in the White House, something about the situation amused me.
According to the museum, President Calvin Coolidge and his wife, Grace, were gifted a bobcat named Smoky. Now, Coolidge had a ton of pets already, including several dogs, a donkey, and two raccoons.
The bobcat wasn't even the weirdest animal he received as a gift either. He was once given two lion cubs named Tax Reduction and Budget Bureau, and also owned a pygmy hippo at one point which was a gift from Firestone Tire magnate Harvey Firestone.
So, why am I not writing about the hippo? What's so funny about the bobcat story? To me, it's the fact that Coolidge had to accept Smoky because he was a gift from "the tightest Republican stronghold in the United States of America."
Man, those were simpler times, huh? Today we put every presidential nominee under a microscope, and there's 24-7 coverage on every network any time a candidate is even suspected of accepting something they shouldn't have to further their career.
Can you imagine if Donald Trump or Joe Biden was handed a bobcat at a campaign stop and had to keep it for fear of losing votes?
Smoky didn't stay at the White House for long. The Coolidges donated him to a nearby zoo.