The Re-gifted Alligator & Other Weird Presidential Pets

Hayley Milliman

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When I was young, I asked my parents for a dog.

Well, I asked them for a wolf, but I would have settled with anything four-legged, furry, and featured in my most beloved book, The Complete Dog Breed Book.

I spent hours pouring over every detail of every breed in that book, knowledge which has served me surprisingly well today. Unfortunately, as a youngster, my obsessive attention to dog detail wasn’t all that well-received. Despite my pleas, my parents refused to bend and I grew up without a best friend. (That’s not true, I had plenty of friends. Just none who let me pet them.)

As soon as I graduated college, I adopted a dog. Seriously. Before I had rented an apartment, I had adopted a dog. I actually ended up having to find an apartment just so I could put an address down when I rescued the dog. Adopting a dog was the thing I was most excited for about growing up. Paying my own bills meant I could have what furry creatures I wanted.

When I look at this list of strange presidential pets, I can only think that these esteemed politicians thought exactly what I did as a child, just on a larger scale. They couldn’t get elephants at home, so as soon as they became president, they were like, “F*** it. I’m calling up a friend and getting a herd.”

Now, we know today that adopting a herd of elephants is irresponsible and dangerous for the environment. But there’s a small part of me that understands that James Buchanan probably felt really, really cool when that happened.

Without further ado, here’s a look at three of the weirdest presidential pets in history.

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