Fun Facts about the Presidents #4 – Which President loved animals and let his children have a piebald rat named Jonathan live at the White House?

Theodore Roosevelt was very fond of pets and let his children keep a whole assortment of them at the White House, including the piebald rat named Jonathan. Unfortunately, there is no photograph of Jonathan, but there are some of the many Roosevelt dogs. Here’s a picture of the family with Skip:

And here’s a picture of Theodore with two of the other dogs:

In his many letters to friends and family he often talked about the animals:

At this moment, my small daughter being out, I am acting as nurse to two wee guinea pigs, which she feels would not be safe save in the room with me.”  letter to a friend, October 20, 1902

And he wrote to his son Archie in 1908:

“Mother continues much attached to Scamp, who is certainly a cunning little dog. He is very affectionate, but so exceedingly busy when we are out on the grounds, that we only catch glimpses of him zigzagging at full speed from one end of the place to the other. The kitchen cat and he have strained relations but have not yet come to open hostility.”

Here’s just a partial list of some of their other pets:

Sailor Boy, a Chesapeake Bay retriever

Manchu, a Pekingese

Skip, a mutt

Jack and Pete and Scamp, assorted terriers

Tom Quartz and Slippers, cats

Josiah the badger

Algonquin the pony

Eli the macaw

Jonathan the piebald rat

Emily Spinach, a garter snake

Dewey Senior, Dewey Junior, Bob Evans, Bishop Doan, and Father O’Grady, all guinea pigs

Teddy Roosevelt and family were fascinating. To learn more about them check out THEODORE ROOSEVELT FOR KIDS: HIS LIFE AND TIMES, 21 ACTIVITIES (FOR KIDS SERIES) by Kerrie Logan Hollihan.

Here are a few other posts about the Presidents:

Which President was a good cook? (recipe included)

Which President noticed the White House was about to fall down?

Which President got married in the White House and who was the youngest First Lady?

How to memorize the Presidents in Order X-Men Style:

Who were the smartest Presidents?

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