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Presidential Pups
Fun Facts about Presidents and Pets
Fun Facts about Presidents and Pets

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No stranger to breaking tradition, Trump has continued his tradition of…breaking tradition? Okay, let’s get to the point. Trump isn’t going to add a pet to the white house family. At least not anytime soon. CNN spoke with communications director Stephanie Grisham and was told that “There are no plans at this time” to add a furry friend to the Trump family.  This is a huge break from tradition!

While many aren’t worried about whether or not the president has a pet, it is an interesting deviation from the traditional approach since having a pet can soften the image of a president and increase the overall appeal. Really, it adds another dimension to the way the president is perceived. That’s part of the reason why so many presidents have “leveraged” their pets to appear compassionate and more “regular”.

But Trump will have none of that.

According to the memoir from his first wife, Trump doesn’t like dogs. In fact, Ivanka gave The Donald an ultimatum: It’s me and the dog or no one! Trump conceded (or rather negotiated the deal) and Chappy the poodle came with Ivanka. The relationship was not great and Ivanka reported a mutual dislike between Chappy and Trump.

There hasn’t been a petless White House since the 1920s. Well, we should probably clarify. There hasn’t been a white house without an animal sharing the space. President John Quincy Adams ended up living with an alligator as a result of a gift. Not one to turn down a gift, he accepted the alligator and placed him in the East Room for several months until they could figure just what one is supposed to do with a pet alligator.

If Trump doesn’t want a dog, cat or other traditional pet we think he may be interested in a big cat or an alligator.

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President Trump recently did what hundred of presidents did before him: pardon a turkey, or more often a pair, during Thanksgiving. The turkeys, once pardoned make their way to Gobbler Rest where they are free to live out their days. Trump, showing a rather cavalier sense of humor, joked about how he was unable to reverse Obama’s decision to pardon Tator and Tot the previous year. Trying to remove Obamacare and revoke turkey pardons may not be exactly the same. Still, beyond that, we wanted to look at some other aspects of the turkey pardon. Just where do these turkeys come from?

The best source we found for the background of the gobbler pardoning ceremony was a 2013 article from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association posted on the AVMA website.

The story goes over the experience of veterinarian Bob Evans who, in 2013, was a key player in the turkey ceremony. While most people likely imagine a farm full of turkeys where a lucky turkey is simply plucked from the line to the slaughterhouse there is A LOT more planning that goes into the turkey.

The turkeys come from the National Turkey Federation and have been coming from the same location since the Truman years. The turkeys have an extensive team which includes groomers, veterinarians and a long list of other caretakers. Bob Evans is one of the few food industry veterinarians that spends hours grooming, bathing, and entertaining turkeys. Dr. Evans was the veterinarian in charge of overseeing the flock of roughly 40 birds raised specifically for the presidential pardon ceremony. The birds are chosen for their colors, which are not fully developed until early adulthood. Because the ceremony calls for a colorful and beautiful bird they can’t be sure they have the right one until the bird is older.


The birds are also exposed to loud music and frequent human interaction. The ceremony is a loud, boisterous event (as is any event with The Donald!) and most turkeys would just plain freak out if they weren’t prepared for the ceremony. Out of the 40 turkeys, the two with the most confidence and beauty are chosen to be pardoned. Only one turkey officially receives the pardon both turkeys are spared the fate of their feathered friends.


With a team of veterinarians, technicians, groomers and a long list of other caretakers, the 2013 turkeys ended up costing around $375 per pound. With each bird typically weighing around 40 lbs that means the turkeys cost around $15,000….each! That doesn’t account for all the turkeys that don’t make it to official ceremony.


For me, it sort of ruined the idea of one lucky turkey making it out of the slaughterhouse and into greener pastures. What do you think?

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They say that a dog is man’s best friend. The world that we live in is often a lonely place and it is important to have a faithful companion and if anyone could use a canine friend in a dark world it would have to be President Trump. Currently, President Trump does not have a dog but if he did, what type of dog would he have?

For anyone that knows President Trump well, they would tell you that he would only choose a dog in a certain way. The way that he would choose a dog is by having a “Doggie Apprentice Competition”. He would select five dogs and put them through a difficult competition process. Each dog would be required to perform specific acts, tests and skills. The winning dog would receive the “privilege” of having President Trump as its owner.

I suspect that the five different breeds of dogs that he would select would be a Rottweiler, a German Shepherd, a Pitbull, a French Poodle, and a Cocker Spaniel. I can’t begin to imagine how Trump would decide on the breeds so we’ve selected them mostly randomly for the purposes of this thought experiment. Each competition would have a winner and a loser. The loser would be eliminated and the winner of each competition would receive a special reward. Only the losing dog would be eliminated whereas all of the remaining dogs would move on to the next round of competition.

The competition would probably begin with a performance test. Each dog would be trained by a team of professional dog trainers to perform a special trick. The dog that performed the best trick, according to President Trump, would be the winner. The dog that performed the worst trick would be kicked out of the competition. The dog trainers would choose a trick that was suited for the breed of dog.

Here’s how I think it will play out: In the first competition the Rottweiler performed a “Roll Over Trick”, the German Shepherd a “Fetch the Stick Trick”, the Pitbull performed a “Walk on your Hind Legs Trick”, the French Poodle a “Jump Through the Hoops Trick”, and the Cocker Spaniel performed a “Play Dead Trick”. The winning dog was the French Poodle and the losing dog was the Pitbull.The French Poodle received a plate of filet mignon as its reward.

The French Poodle received a plate of filet mignon as its reward.

The next competition for the four remaining dogs was the cute competition. Each dog was professionally groomed and then displayed on a runway before President Trump. Each of the dogs was gorgeous but the President chose the Cocker Spaniel as the cutest dog. The losing dog was the Rottweiler and therefore the Rottweiler had to leave the competition. As a reward the Cocker Spaniel was given a one week, all expenses paid vacation to the infamous world renowned dog spa, Doggie Heaven. No, that isn’t a euphemism. The Trump doesn’t use euphemisms.

The level of the competition now intensified immensely as there were only three dogs remaining. The next criteria for the competition was to see which dog provided the best protection. President Trump took each dog for a walk on the White House lawn. A pretend mugger would attempt to attack President Trump at some point during the walk. How would the dogs react and which dog would come to President Trump’s aid?

The winning dog was not the dog that many chose. It was the French Poodle. The most fearsome of all canines.

There now remained only two dogs left in the competition. Which one would win? The final competition involved food. Each dog received three bowls of food. The first bowl contained an appetizer, a dog biscuit. The second bowl contained the main meal, Kibbles. The third bowl contained a desert, a dog chew. The dogs were expected to eat the entire meal in a proper order. First the appetizer, then the main meal, and finally the desert. Whichever dog performed this culinary feat in the right order would be the winner.

The Cocker Spaniel, unfortunately, ate the desert first, the meal second, and the appetizer third. The French Poodle ate the appetizer first, the meal second, and the desert third. As a result, the French Poodle was declared the winner of the “Doggie Apprentice Competition” and as a reward received President Trump as its new owner. The final outcome was not too surprising for many because it is a well-known fact that the French have had years of enlightenment when it comes to culinary fair.

Update: When we first wrote this article we didn’t have any information about what dog Trump would pick. Now it looks like a little guy named Patton is a good candidate: 

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Okay, so you all know that I was pre-vet for several years before I decided to ditch the whole science thing and pursue a humanities degree. But I still picked up a minor in biology and I strongly disagree with the idea of over specialization! So I’m adding a post type to Presidential Pup called “Veterinary Corner”. These posts will be based on my own research but will also include fact checking from Dr. E from Parkside Animal Health Center.

Just to be clear, despite having a doctor involved, that does not mean that this or other posts constitute medical advice! This is just for fun and informational purposes! Always take the advice of your veterinarian!

“My Cat Keeps Sneezing But Seems Fine!?”

So let’s get right into it! For the first one in our series, I’m answering a question that I had about my cat Washington. Washington is a 2 year old gray and white shelter cat. He is also the best cat I’ve ever had! He gets along great with my two dogs and is generally just a happy little feline! But about 6 months ago he started sneezing pretty frequently. Everything else was the same though, he was still eating, drinking and sleeping normally. Everything else seemed fine! So while this certainly doesn’t sound like a medical emergency, I started to get pretty worried after a while. So I called Dr. E and asked “What should I do? My cat keeps sneezing but seems fine!?” Here are the two major concerns you have to decide between:

Consider Environmental Irritants

The first thing to look for is basic changes to the environment. There’s a saying in both human and veterinary medicine that goes something like, “When you hear hoofbeats, look for the horse, not the zebra.” It comments on the tendency of veterinarians, and laypeople, to jump to the most complicated and often most unlikely conclusion first. It’s with that in mind that Dr. E asked me to look at the simple possibility of an environmental change first before considering flesh eating bacteria or other extraordinary concerns.

Living in Colorado means very dry air! Washington may just be sensitive to climate, just like people get sensitive to the dry Colorado weather. Something as simple as adding a humidifier to your home may help the situation. Often, we see bloody nasal discharge which makes pet owners totally flip. But the reality is, bloody nasal discharge is more often a result of dryness in the nasal passages than some major underlying disease.

Check the litter! Even if you’re scooping frequently, old litter can create small irritants as it dissolves and ages. This can cause your cat to keep sneezing despite everything else being fine since the sneezing will most often occur around litter box time. You can also try changing the litter. Just like people’s sensitivities change with time so does your cat’s! So just because Washington has never had a problem with clumping litter before doesn’t mean it hasn’t become a problem now.

Clean the house! Cats love to find little nooks and crannies and this often means find their way into dusty and dander filled spots of the house. Check your cat’s preferred hangouts for areas of dirt and debris.

Consider the Feline Herpes Virus or Feline Upper Respiratory Infection

Since Washington comes from a shelter environment, he almost certainly was exposed to the Feline Herpes Virus. Even if he wasn’t a shelter cat, almost all cats have been exposed to the herpes virus. Most cats carry the virus but it won’t become evident unless the cat gets stressed out. This is going to be different for most cats. If your cat does have feline herpes virus and keeps sneezing but seems fine then your cat probably is fine. If you see additional symptoms, like anorexia, congestion or conjunctivitis (discharge around the eyes) you should certainly bring your cat in to see your veterinarian. (And as a side note, I can’t recommend Dr. E and Parkside enough if you need an Aurora veterinarian.) But back to the topic at hand! Herpes virus is just one of many components of an upper respiratory infection and any symptoms beyond sneezing could indicate a more concerning type of infection.

Herpes virus flare ups may not require a visit to the veterinarian. Once you know your cat has the virus you can monitor closely for signs but since it is a virus there’s little that can be done at the initial stages.

If you see any additional medical concerns then it’s time to see your veterinarian.

Horses, not Zebras!

Not today Mr. Zebra!
So there you have it! That’s us looking for horses when we hear hooves (or sneezing) rather than hunting zebras. While there are a lot more things that could be going on when your cat sneezes investigating these first two problems is generally the best way to go.

Thank you Dr. E for allowing me to put information from Washington’s visit into this post! And if you live in Aurora and want to visit Parkside, check them out at:

Parkside An…
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