Buddy the chocolate lab (Bill Clinton)
Although many former presidents have been honest to dog canine lovers, it’s rumored that Buddy, Bill Clinton’s chocolate lab, was more or less a PR prop acquired in 1997 to boost the beleaguered prez’s public image and distract from the ongoing Monica Lewinsky sex scandal. According to a profile of presidential pet expert Ronnie Elmore, Buddy lived in the basement of the White House with his actual owner and was only brought out for occasional photo ops. Says Elmore: "Everyone loves chocolate labs, and how could you not like Buddy's buddy, Bill?” Whether or not Buddy was actually just a lovable distraction from the president’s unlovable encounters with a White House intern, one thing is for sure: Buddy and Socks, the Clinton’s cat, were not exactly simpatico. Buddy was killed in 2002 at the Clinton residence in Chappaqua, N.Y., after chasing a contractor working on the home into a busy road where he was struck by a car. Although the Clintons were not home at the time, Secret Service agents watching the home attempted to save Buddy, rushing him to an animal hospital where he was pronounced dead. Socks, who went to live with Clinton’s secretary Betty Currie after the president let office due in part to the fact that she and Buddy pretty much hated each other, outlived her nemesis by seven years. She passed away in 2009 from jaw cancer.