Yesterday we learned just how much President Abraham Lincoln valued Sallie, the brindle-colored Staffordshire Bull Terrier that fought alongside our troops in the Civil War. Lincoln was so taken with the fact that the female Pitbull helped his men through the throes of wartime that he issued her an award for her service for our country.
Dogs were not the only animal in the heart of our great 16th President, felines seemed to touch his heart, too. In fact, William Herndon, Abraham Lincoln’s business partner had this to say of his friend, "If exhausted from severe and long-continued thought, he had to touch the earth again to renew his strength. When this weariness set in he would stop thought, and get down with a little dog or kitten to recover."
In fact, Mary Todd Lincoln was once heard saying that Lincoln’s hobby was cats. She stated that he could play with them for hours on end. Essentially he even rescued kittens during wartime, caring for them, feeding them and finding them a proper home since their mother had been killed.
As you can see, the human-animal bond was particularly essential to Lincoln’s life. He displayed this around every turn. Others paid attention to this and just a few short years later, the American Humane Association (AHA) was founded on the very same values that Lincoln displayed toward animals.
The AHA was founded in 1877; displaying right away the special connection between pets and people in this world that we share. The AHA has not only been at the forefront of protecting animals, but they were the reason that children began being protected under the law as well. Since we are all from the animal kingdom, the AHA believes that no one should have to suffer from cruelty, abuse or neglect!
Many first families believe that, too, and so they treat their beloved cats (and dogs) with the love and respect that they deserve – following President Lincoln’s lead. Besides loving cats, Lincoln also loved his dog Fido. FDR had a Scottish Terrier named Fala. Nixon had Checkers. Clinton had the famous Socks the cat. Now the Obamas have Bo and Sunny running free on the White House Lawn.
In honor of all cats, dogs and the great Presidents of our nation, let’s all continue to promote the human-animal bond that President Abe Lincoln took so much to heart. If you are able, please make a contribution to American Humane Association today and keep the love alive!