My Fellow Americans: The Pet Primary of 2016

My Fellow Americans: The Pet Primary of 2016

Hello, informed citizens! This is Patra, your favorite politi-kitty. While I’m not interested in partisan politics, I am very interested in following the human election cycle. I think it’s a fascinating study in how you people relate to each other, form groups, and make changes happen.


I’ve been following the election more closely than almost anything except a laser pointer– my humans occasionally volunteer for campaigns and adore watching the news, so I think I’m a pretty well-informed kitten! But while everyone is so focused on who will receive the nominations, I feel that a major part of the election has been neglected! That’s right… the pets.


On January 20, 2016, the world will wake up to a new leader in the White House. This person will have immense power, and his or her family will be thrust into the limelight. This attention will extend to the First Family’s pet, too. Whatever furry creature winds up there will have to act as a representative for all pet-kind, and I for one want to know who I’m electing to that honor!


There must be some connection between loving animals and winning elections, because every single president in history has had one! While there have been more exotic First Pets, like goats, tiger cubs, alligators, and a bobcat (!), most of the presidential pets were dogs.


Some of these famous dogs have especially enjoyed the spotlight. Former President George H.W. Bush’s dog Millie, for example, used her time in the White House to write a book. Millie’s Book follows the Bush family on a day in the life as President from the perspective of the Springer Spaniel.


The current First Dogs have also gotten plenty of attention, particularly from photographers. The President’s photogenic pups, Sunny and Bo are Portuguese water dogs. The Obamas gave Bo a forever home after Bo’s first owners gave him away and got Sunny from a breeder. The whole family takes turns walking the dogs, even the President himself! Bo, the older dog, is the subject of a picture book of his own, called The First Pup: The Real Story of How Bo Got to the White House.

So how do the current presidential candidates stack up in regards to pet ownership? GOP candidates Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz all have dogs. Democratic candidates Martin O’Malley has a dog and a cat.


It’s unknown if Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump currently have pets. Bernie Sanders and Chris Christie do not, and Scott Walker is allergic.


For those who like to poke a little fun at the inherent ridiculousness of American politics, there are some dog treats I want to tell you about! There’s currently a Kickstarter project online for a new kind of dog biscuits called Boneheads. If funded, they’ll come in Christie, Cruz, Jeb!, Hillary, and Donald varieties. Each flavor treat will look like a caricature of the candidate and be made of all-natural ingredients.


As President Harry Truman once said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” Although I of course think that cats like myself are equally great friends, the sentiment stands. Even in a difficult place like Washington, D.C., a pet is a loyal pal whether you’re looking to sit in the Oval Office or just sit on the couch.

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