WASHINGTON - In addition to honoring the country’s past leaders, Presidents Day 2022 also honored some of the first families’ pets as life-size statues of the presidential dogs were unveiled.
Jinx, a dog food company, rolled out the one-day exhibit at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Monday.
The exhibit included Abraham Lincoln's dog, Fido, Jackie O's dog, Pushinka and Barack Obama's dog, Bo.
"Over the past couple of years, we've realized how much we depend on our pets for emotional support," Jinx co-founder Sameer Mehta said in a news release. "That's why this Presidents Day, we put politics aside to celebrate our Companions-in-Chief, the dogs that have been there for some of our nation's greatest leaders, ready and waiting for belly rubs and daily walks."
According to the Presidential Pet Museum, Lincoln’s Fido was a yellowish, mixed-breed dog with floppy ears and a stubby tail. He never lived in the White House with Lincoln while he was president but accompanied him on walks around town, according to the organization. The Lincolns then gave up Fido for adoption. Sadly, Fido was killed when he playfully jumped on top of a drunken man sitting on the sidewalk. The man became enraged and stabbed Fido.
Statue of former President Barack Obama's dog, Bo. (Jinx)
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library said Pushinka was a gift from Soviet Union Premier Nikita Khrushchev to the former president and his family. It isn’t clear what eventually happened to Pushinka although there are reports that the Kennedys gave the dog to another family.
Former President Barack Obama’s dog Bo died in 2021 after a battle with cancer. Bo, a Portuguese water dog, was a gift to the Obamas from the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., a key supporter of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign who became close to the family. Bo helped Obama keep a promise to daughters Malia and Sasha that they could get a dog after the election.
"He tolerated all the fuss that came with being in the White House, had a big bark but no bite, loved to jump in the pool in the summer, was unflappable with children, lived for scraps around the dinner table, and had great hair," Barack Obama wrote.
It’s no surprise to us animal lovers that most presidents have enjoyed the company of a family pet or two during their time in the White House. The animals help to relieve some of the tension in the hectic lives that come with the job. Their dogs love them unconditionally, their cats don’t offer political advice, and their goldfish never leak secrets to the press.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.