National Dogs in Politics Day -- Sept. 23

Posted by Ashley L. on Sep 20, 2019

On September 23rd, 1952, Richard Nixon (then a senator) gave a speech regarding allegations of using campaign funds and donations for personal reasons. He explained that one of his supporters from Texas sent his family a puppy. His daughter named the black and white Cocker Spaniel Checkers. He said, “...regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it.” The reaction from supporters all over the nation was extremely favorable. This speech was named the “Checkers Speech” and since that day, the nation has celebrated Dogs in Politics Day, also known as National Checkers Day. There is even a museum in Williamsburg, Virginia named “The Presidential Pet Museum,” where you can learn about past First Dogs of the United States (FDOTUS).

Throughout U.S. history, dogs have changed the course of history and speeches, usually for the better. Citizens love to see that presidents are just like us, and love their pooches. It was once rumored that Franklin D. Roosevelt left his dog, Fala, on the Aleutian Islands and a Navy destroyer was sent to pick him up. He exclaimed, “...I don't resent attacks...but Fala does resent them...his Scotch soul was furious...But I think I have a right to resent, to object, to libelous statements about my dog.” Fala was not only beloved by the President but by the nation, as well. Movies and a series of political cartoons were made with Fala as the main subject.

32 out of 45 presidents have had a dog while serving in the White House. Here is a list of the presidents and the number of dogs they owned:

  • George Washington, 1st President, 7 dogs
  • John Adams, 2nd President, 3 dogs
  • Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President, at least 2 dogs
  • James Monroe, 5th President, 2 dogs
  • John Tyler, 10th President, 1 dog
  • Franklin Pierce, 14th President, 7 dogs
  • James Buchanan, 15th President, 2 dogs
  • Abraham Lincoln, 16th President, 2 dogs
  • Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President, 2 dogs
  • Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President, 8 dogs
  • James Garfield, 20th President, 1 dog
  • Grover Cleveland, 22nd & 24th President, 4 dogs
  • Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President, 1 dog
  • Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President, 10 dogs
  • William Howard Taft, 27th President, 1 dog
  • Woodrow Wilson, 28th President, 2 dogs
  • Warren G. Harding, 29th President, 2 dogs
  • Calvin Coolidge, 30th President, 12 dogs
  • Herbert Hoover, 31st President, 9 dogs
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President, 7 dogs
  • Harry Truman, 33rd President, 2 dogs
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President, 1 dog
  • John F. Kennedy, 35th President, 11 dogs
  • Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President, 6 dogs
  • Gerald Ford, 38th President, 3 dogs
  • Jimmy Carter, 39th President, 2 dogs
  • Ronald Reagan, 40th President, 6 dogs
  • George H.W. Bush, 41st President, 2 dogs
  • Bill Clinton, 42nd President, 1 dog
  • George W. Bush, 43rd President, 3 dogs
  • Barack Obama, 44th President, 2 dogs