I'm of an age to remember many Presidential campaigns and inaugurations. My earliest memory of a Presidential campaign goes back to 1972 when I got upset when one of my great aunts couldn't oblige my pleas to extend her visit with my family because she had to return home to continue her work on the late Senator George McGovern's campaign. Her commitment impressed upon me the importance of such endeavors. My next memory is of the 1976 campaign and in particular, Jimmy Carter's move into the White House. Why? Because a Siamese cat named Misty Malarky Ying Yang was about to take up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Thereafter, cats were largely absent from the White House until Socks Clinton, later known as Socks Clinton-Currie, arrived in 1993, twelve years after Misty Malarky's Ying Yang's departure.
Those who are older than I might remember LBJ's dog, Him, a Beagle he held up by the ears. Of course, there's FDR's legendary Scottie, Fala, who was subject to false rumors that FDR left him behind on one of the Aleutian Islands, thereby supposedly prompting a U.S. Navy rescue mission to retrieve him. I thought Bush the first's dogs, Millie the Springer Spaniel, and her puppies were cute. Bush two's dog, Barney the Scottie, wasn't cut from the same cloth as Fala Roosevelt. Barney was snappy. His friend, Miss Beazley, the Scottie, was much cuter. As a Michigander, I must mention President Ford's good-natured dog, Liberty the Golden Retriever, of whom I've got only faint memories.
I followed Socks' exploits as the Clinton family prepared to move to Washington, DC until his death 16 years later. I marveled at Socks' bravery and good humor as he became a favorite subject for photographers even before his departure for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. I wondered what his favorite windows were once he moved in. I wondered what he did to make the most of such a huge house with so many opportunities for mischief. I hoped Socks would be loved by every American. When Socks left the White House in 2001, I missed him. I mourned him when he died in 2009.
In this age of incessant division and rancor, Presidential pets may serve as a unifying force of goodwill for Democrats and Republicans, and although I'm a passionate cat lover, I wish Bo Obama good health and happiness as he continues to roam the halls of the White House and patrol its vast outdoor venues. I hope all Americans feel the same way.