The ‘Humanization’ of Animals and the Custody of Companion Pets When {Couples} Separate or Divorce

Former president Harry Truman famously stated that “if you need a friend in Washington get a dog.” Over the past 221 years, dogs, cats and other animals, including horses, cows, snakes, raccoons, birds, goats, sheep and even a small bear, have roamed the White House grounds.

Since FDR and his beloved dog Fala, the First Families have limited their companions of choice to dogs and cats, except for the Kennedys, whose daughter Caroline had a horse named Macaroni. These pets have become intertwined with the history of our presidents and their families as we’ve read about them, seen photographs of them and even watched them on television. Subsequent to FDR, the most notable were LBJ’s two beagles Him and Her; Nixon’s dog King Timahoe (and, of course, in his pre-White House days, his infamous dog Checkers, gifted to him while running in his first campaign for Vice President); Ford’s dog Liberty; Reagan’s dogs Rex and Lucky; Bush 41’s dog Millie and her offspring, including Spot, who later became the only dog ​​to live twice in the White House when he joined Bush 43’s other dogs Barney and Miss Beazely; Clinton’s cat Socks and Obama’s dogs Bo and Sunny. Currently, the Biden family enjoys the company of two German shepherds, Major and Commander and a cat named Willow.

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