By Leah Houghton, a student at the College of St. Joseph, written from the pet’s point of view
Bounder – Me-ow!! President Coolidge liked to hide me in different places around the house. One time he hid me in the hall clock and I meowed so loudly that Mrs. Coolidge thought I was yelling for help! She would always come and rescue me when Mr. Coolidge hid me. My favorite day of the week was Sunday when I was allowed to ride down the laundry chute! Climber was my cousin and we were both from the president’s home state of Vermont.
Climber (Mud) – Hi, I’m a Maltese Angora Cat and my name’s Mud. I was named this because my owner, Calvin Coolidge said that anyone could see that my name is mud. Mr. Coolidge did not like cats of fancy breeding, but I really liked him. When Mr. Coolidge left for Massachusetts in 1907, I missed him so much that I died of a broken heart.
Tiger (Tige) – Blacky and I were the first of the Coolidge cats to live in the White House. President Coolidge liked to wear me around his neck. I loved to explore, and the first time that I escaped, I went all the way to the Lincoln memorial! The Coolidges made me a beautiful collar with my name and “The White House” engraved on it. I disappeared from the White House shortly after, and some people think that my collar was a tempting souvenir for people.
Blacky – After Tige disappeared; I stuck around the White House for a few more years. I was more of a hunter, and would often bring home presents of what I caught. Mrs. Coolidge didn’t like this very much, so I spent much of my time in the guardhouse. When I was allowed in the house, I didn’t like to hang out with the Coolidges as much as I liked to be in the kitchen.
Nip & Tuck – We were the first two of the Coolidge’s birds. When the Coolidges moved to Washington and into the Willard Hotel, there was no room for large animals. A friend of Mrs. Coolidge had us, and offered us to her. We were lovely olive green birds and the Coolidge’s liked us so much that they acquired many birds.
Snowflake & Peter Piper – We were two canaries owned by the Coolidges.
Goldy – I’m a yellow bird who was owned by the Coolidges, although there isn’t much else known about me.
Mockingbird – Although I didn’t even have a name, Mrs. Coolidge almost got in a lot of trouble for having me. You see, it’s illegal to have mockingbirds as pets in the District of Columbia. If she had been caught with me, it would have been a $5.00 fine and a month in jail. Mrs. Coolidge didn’t think it would look well for the former First Lady to be in prison, so she found me a new home.
Do-Funny – I was Mrs. Coolidge’s favorite bird. Before I lived with the Coolidges, I lived all the way in South Africa. My breed belongs to the Oriole family and I’m only about the size of a crow. I had beautiful yellow and blue feathers and squawked loudly when I was annoyed, but since Mrs. Coolidge was my favorite as well, I would sing nicely for her. Mrs. Coolidge and I trusted each other so much that I would eat food right from her mouth! Sometimes, I would hear her whistling in another room and I’d whistle with her.
Peter Pan – I was the first of the Coolidge’s dogs to live in the White House. I loved my family, but the White House was too noisy for me, and thankfully, my owners realized this. They were so nice that they found me a much quieter house where I happily lived out the rest of my life.
Paul Pry – I came to the White House just before Peter Pan left. I was related to Harding’s dog Laddy Boy. I too loved the Coolidges, especially Mr. Coolidge. I was loyal to Mr. Coolidge, but my loyalty was too extreme, and I wouldn’t even let the housekeepers into the room.
Rob Roy – I was originally a sheepherder from Wisconsin. Being from the country, I had never been in an elevator until I went to Washington. The first time that I went up in the elevator, I spread out all of my paws and tried to hold on to the floor! Paul Pry and I were best friends and we would run around together. The only thing about me that bothered the Coolidges was that because I was a collie, I had a tendency to bark.
Beans – I was a Boston bulldog. I quickly became the head animal of the house, and this made Rob pretty upset, since he had been running the house for a while before I came. Eventually I got sent to live with Mrs. Coolidge’s mother in Northampton.
Prudence Prim – I was white collie that was best friends with Rob Roy. I was a very close companion to Mrs. Coolidge, and even slept by her bed or on her couch at night. I was very well behaved, and allowed to attend tea parties, I would greet each guest. I was a feminine dog and enjoyed wearing a straw bonnet adorned with maidenhair fern and green ribbons to garden parties.
Tiny Tim – Mr. Coolidge and I shared the same birthday- the 4th of July! I was a red chow-chow, and another favorite of Mrs. Coolidge. Mr. Coolidge and I did not get along, and I quickly became known as Terrible Tim.
Diana of Wildwood (Calamity Jane) – I arrived to the Coolidge house shortly after Tiny Tim. When I came to the Coolidge’s my white collie fur was covered in black grease! You see, I was flown to the Coolidges, and dogs traveling back then were not protected from the grime and dirtiness of air travel. Mrs. Coolidge was the one who gave me my nickname, and I liked it much better than my kennel name of Diana of Wildwood.
Blackberry – Although the Coolidges had Tiny Tim and Calamity Jane, I entered the Coolidge’s life during the family trip to the Black Hills. I was a beautiful, well-bred black chow-chow. Even my mouth was black! I did not end up stay long with Mr. and Mrs. Coolidge, as I became a gift from John Coolidge to his “Certain Young Lady”.
King Cole – I was a Belgian Groenendael who was a gift to the Coolidges as well. Since Blackberry belonged to John’s future wife, they no longer had a black dog, and the people who bred me believed that the Coolidges should have every color dog there was. I loved the Coolidges, but was a somewhat shy and skittish dog. When I first came to stay with the Coolidge’s it was just in time for a weekend trip, and Rob Roy was always the dog that got to go, but for one time I was taken alone! Rob Roy was quite mad at both the Coolidges and myself for quite some time! I eventually went to live with a schoolteacher in Kentucky so that I could get the undivided information that the Coolidges knew that I needed. For more information on Belgian Sheepdogs, click here.
Rebecca – I was the White House raccoon, but I was almost a part of the Coolidge’s Thanksgiving dinner. I was sent as a contribution to the meal, but thankfully, the Coolidge’s, especially Mrs. Coolidge, liked me enough to keep me as a pet. My favorite thing to do was to take baths and play with soap in the tub. I had a special pen in the tree at the White House with a wire fence. The Coolidges thought that I was lonely and got me a raccoon friend named Reuben, but he was an escape artist and ran away. For more information on raccoons, click here.
Bruno – ROAR! I was one of the Coolidge’s most exotic pets! I came all the way from Chihuahua, Mexico in a motor van! Thankfully, the Coolidge’s knew that they couldn’t care for me while living in the White House, and Mrs. Coolidge found me a place in the zoo where I lived out my life. For more information on black bears, click here.
Wallaby – When Mrs. Coolidge received me as a gift, she had to look up what a wallaby was. She found out that a wallaby is a small kangaroo. Although I was cute, I too ended up at the zoo. For more information on wallabies, click here.
Tax Reduction, Budget Bureau – We were twin lion cubs who came from Johannesburg, Africa.
Duiker– I was another unique pet from a far away place. Although nobody today can seem to remember my name, they do know that I came from Africa with Tax Reduction and Budget Bureau. A duiker is a very small antelope, and Mrs. Coolidge knew that I would be much happier at the zoo where the zookeeper could keep my healthy and happy. To learn more duikers, click here.
Pekin Ducks – Thirteen of us were given as gifts to Mrs. Coolidge one Easter. She tried to raise us in one of the bathrooms in the White House, but we quickly grew to be too large to live in the bathroom, and we all ended up at the zoo as well. For more information on Pekin Ducks, click here.