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Famous presidential pooches

By: Matt Hickman on June 5, 2012, 6:38 p.m.
Pets, dogs

Photo: cliff1066/Flickr

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Rob Roy the white collie (Calvin Coolidge)

It makes sense that the famously taciturn Calvin Coolidge grew up on a farm in Vermont; America’s 30th president loved his animals. Among the presidential menagerie — some of the animals lived at the White House while others resided at zoos — were a donkey named Ebeneezer, a pygmy hippo named Billy, a wallaby, a bobcat, canaries and a pair of raccoons named Rebecca and Horace. In addition to collecting decidedly unconventional pets, Coolidge and first lady Grace Coolidge were avid dog lovers and owned many. Perhaps the most famous Coolidge canine was Rob Roy, a white collie immortalized in a portrait of the first lady that hangs in the White House China Room. Wrote Coolidge of Rob Roy in his autobiography: “He was a stately companion of great courage and fidelity. He loved to bark from the second-story windows and around the South Grounds. Nights he remained in my room and afternoons went with me to the office. His especial delight was to ride with me in the boats when I went fishing. So although I know he would bark for joy as the grim boatman ferried him across the dark waters of the Styx, yet his going left me lonely on the hither shore.”