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.
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.
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.