For National Dogs in Politics Day on September 23 we celebrate The First Dog of the United States (FDOTUS), who holds an important place in the hearts of all Americans. Dogs and other pets have a long history of living in the White House; they have endeared us to their owners (the First Families) and have even swayed the vote of animal lovers with interests in the rights of their furry friends. Learn more about the history of man’s best friend and their role in politics today.
History of National Dogs in Politics Day
In 1952, a dog changed the course of a presidential election. Today, National Dogs in Politics Day, not only marks this occasion, it commemorates all of America’s greatest political pooches.
On September 23, 1952, Richard Nixon used television (still in its infancy) to speak directly to 60 million viewers — the largest audience at the time. Dubbed the “Checkers Speech”, Nixon refuted charges that he had abused campaign contributions. By alluding to his children and the family dog, a black and white cocker spaniel named Checkers, Nixon touched a public nerve making him seem more personable. Through this speech, Nixon was able to gain the public’s trust, downplay the charges and stay on the Eisenhower ticket as vice president.
Throughout history in the White House, almost every President has had a dog as part of the First Family. It’s no surprise given Americans’ love for dogs and the fact dogs can calm pretty much any situation – kind of important for the most powerful position in the world.