On a recent Saturday morning, half a dozen pups relaxed in the sunshine of a perfect fall day as their owners chatted and waited for the tour to begin. They were at George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, for a special dog-centric tour called All the President’s Pups.
On this one and a quarter-mile walk around Washington’s estate, the tour guide shared details about the wide variety of dogs who lived at Mount Vernon during the 18th century. Washington kept companion dogs as well as working dogs. In addition to being considered the father of our country, he is also credited with being the father of the American foxhound. Today, Mount Vernon continues to have working dogs onsite, but in a nod to the 21st century, they are all rescues. All the President’s Pups tours are offered at 10am on Saturdays through October. You can purchase tickets online or onsite. The cost is $5 in addition to the general admission ticket cost of $17. Be forewarned, this is a popular tour with a limited number of spaces available. Tours sometimes sell out so plan ahead; buying your tickets online is recommended. If you miss the tours this year, sign up for Mount Vernon’s e-newsletter which will have an announcement if tours are offered again next spring.
Mount Vernon is very dog-friendly with acres to roam and paths to explore, even if you're not there for the presidential pups tour. Just keep in mind that if you plan to tour the mansion or museum and education center after the presidential pup tour, you’ll need to make other arrangements for your four-legged friend. Dogs aren’t allowed in the historic buildings or exhibition galleries. However, they are permitted to pass through the lobbies of the orientation and education centers, and no one seems to mind if they accompany you into the restroom.
Finally, be sure to take water for your dog. Even on a cool day, your pup will need water during your visit. While there was one water bowl outside the education center, you’ll need your own supply on the presidential pups tour and as you explore the rest of the estate.