I is for Irish Setter, Italian Greyhound and India
John Tyler (1841-1845), Harry S. Truman (1945-1953), Richard M. Nixon (1989-1933), and George W. Bush (2001-2009).
First Daughter Margaret Truman was given an Irish Setter puppy shortly after President Truman was sworn in in 1945. She named the puppy Mike but unfortunately he developed rickets from poor feeding habits while at the WH. One source said he died of rickets, the other said the Truman’s gave him away to a farmer in Virginia.
President Richard Nixon had several dogs while in the WH, but it appears his favorite may have been the Irish Setter, King Timahoe. Tim, as he was called, was a gift from Nixon’s staffers and he was born in Ireland, the ancestral homeland of Nixon’s family. After giving his name some thought, Nixon wanted to give him a good Irish name and chose Timahoe, after the hamlet of the same name. There were two other dogs in the Nixon WH but we will cover them on other days. King Timahoe died in 1979 at the age of 11.
President John Tyler had a single dog while in the WH. It was an Italian greyhound named LeBeau. She was a gift from a government official in Naples, Italy and unfortunately the records surround her activities or personality seem to be nonexistent. (Vintage illustration)
Not the country but the cat!!! India belonged to President George W. Bush and was a beautiful house panther. She was adopted in late 1991 and First Daughter Barbara named her after a Texas Ranger’s star player, Ruben Sierra, aka El Indio. Unfortunately for President Bush an effigy was burned in his name in India saying that naming a black cat named “India” was an insult to their country. Seriously, folks, maybe if those rabble rousers had bothered to check their facts first, they wouldn’t have performed such a pointless act.
India mostly kept to herself letting Barney and Miss Beazley (more about them on another day) bask in the spotlight. She did have some photobombs on the Barneycam videos posted at the time on the WH website and it was revealed that India was a bookworm. The website also revealed that her favorite room in the WH was the library and her favorite book was If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond.
India lived a long and happy life. She died on January 4, 2009 at age 18 in the WH just a few weeks before the Obamas moved in. I guess she thought the only physical home worthy of her presence was the WH and she just wasn’t going anywhere else!!
India’s favorite book! Click on the badge below for the review over at Library of Cats.