August 26 – National Dog Day

August 26 is National Dog Day, a holiday to celebrate dogs and all that they do for us, and to welcome those in need into our lives through animal rescue.

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It is also a day to acknowledge presidential dogs, those pets that humanize the leaders of the United States. (As President Harry S. Truman famously said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”)

Fido, born around 1855, was Abraham Lincoln’s dog. Residents of Springfield remembered seeing Lincoln walk to the local market with Fido trailing behind carrying a parcel in his mouth.

Picture of Fido from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Picture of Fido from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

When Lincoln was elected president, he decided not to take Fido to Washington, because he was worried the dog would not survive the long train ride. Instead, he gave Fido to two neighbor boys, John and Frank Roll, who promised to take good care of him. Lincoln even gave the Roll family the Lincolns’ horsehair sofa, so that Fido would feel more at home. Shortly before leaving Springfield, the Lincolns took Fido to a photography studio to take his picture.

After Lincoln was assassinated, the Rolls brought Fido to Lincoln’s home to greet the mourners.

Fido died less than a year later.

Some Happy Dog/President Combinations

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George W. Bush's dogs, Barney (bottom) and Spot (top) step off Marine One on the south lawn of the White House. (Reuters/Larry Downing)

George W. Bush’s dogs, Barney (bottom) and Spot (top) step off Marine One on the south lawn of the White House. (Reuters/Larry Downing)

The Obamas' dog, holding a press conference

The Obamas’ dog, holding a press conference

Happy National Dog Day!!

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10 Responses

  1. Gah! What happened to my comment! It disappeared. Anyway, what I was saying is that I need a dog. My cats need a dog (not). And I am sure that fate is going to give me a dog when it is the right time.

  2. Zelda will get an extra long walk today in honor of the holiday!

  3. I didn’t know Lincoln had a dog — but I love that it was named Fido! I wonder if that’s where ‘Fido’ as a ubiquitous dog name came from…?

  4. Love that last one! And a good idea for a national day, too.

  5. Oscar and Esther say WOOF in approval of this post.

  6. Awwwww. That is too many cute dog pictures for my brain, especially the last one. The dog doesn’t know what to do with a microphone! How can it give a press conference? What a silly dog!

  7. Awww… I didn’t know that there was a day like this.. Let me go give my cute little one a big hug and a massage!

  8. I miss Max, who has now been with my parents almost a year :(

  9. We just visited the Newseum in DC and there was an entire section on Presidential Pets!

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