Tuesday, August 24, 2010

President Hoover's Dogs

Well, since I started thinking about Iowa when Mom went there, I decided to check out the only president that ever was born in Iowa, and that was Herbert Hoover.  And of course what I wanted to know was did he have any dogs?  So I did some in-depth research, and I was happy to learn that President Hoover and his wife, Mrs. First Lady Hoover, both liked dogs very much, so they had a bunch of them.

But before I tell you about the Hoover dogs, I will tell you that Mr. Hoover was born in a little house in 1874 in West Branch, Iowa.  Mom has actually been to visit this house, but that was several years ago, and all she remembers about it is that it was small and white.  Anyway, Mr. Hoover was the first U.S. president to be born west of the Mississippi River.

After he finished being a child in Iowa, Mr. Hoover went to Stanford University, in California, which was a brand-new school at that time.  He graduated in 1895 with a degree in geology.  Also while he was there, he met Lou Henry, and later on, he married her.  She was also from Iowa, and she also got a degree in geology.

Mr. Hoover went to work for a company that was digging mines in Australia, so he lived there for a while. And later on, he and Mrs. Hoover lived in China.  Then World War I came along, so Mr. Hoover did a bunch of work to help supply food and stuff like that to people in Europe who needed it.

After the war, President Harding gave Mr. Hoover the job of being the Secretary of Commerce.  Then when 1928 came along, the Republican Party wanted Mr. Hoover to run for president.  So he did, and he told everybody that Americans would have plenty of money and that he would make the government be more efficient.  He said, "We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land."

That's what Mr. Hoover said, and people believed him.  Plus he gave everybody an autographed picture of himself with his dog, King Tut, who was a German Shepherd.  And he held King Tut's paws up so that it looked like he was begging for votes for his dad.  And everybody liked what Mr. Hoover said, and they liked the photo, and so they voted for him, and he won the election bigtime.

Then Mr. Hoover started being President Hoover.  And he and Mrs. Hoover had three children and a lot of dogs living with them in the White House.   King Tut was the president's favorite dog.  He got adopted in Belgium during the war, when Mr. Hoover was there giving out food to hungry people.

The Hoovers also had two fox terriers named Big Ben and Sonnie, a Scotch collie named Glen, an Eskimo dog named Yukon, a setter named Eaglehurst Gilette, an elkhund named Weejie, and another German shepherd named Pat.  Oh, and then there was also a great big huge Irish wolfhound named Patrick, who was given to Mrs. Hoover by his breeder because the breeder was an old school friend of Mrs. Hoover's.

So everybody was mostly happy for about six months until the Stock Market crashed.  And when that happened, lots of people lost lots of money, and they lost their jobs, and they lost their homes.  And they didn't have any food, so they had to go to soup kitchens to get a little something to eat.

President Hoover didn't really know what to do or how do deal with this horrible situation, so people started blaming him for all the bad stuff that was happening.  I don't know if it was really his fault or not because I don't understand all that money stuff, but I do know that President Hoover did not really make it onto the list of the best presidents ever.  In my opinion, though, anybody who liked dogs as much as he did couldn't have been all bad.

Anyway, while President Hoover was feeling super stressed about the Great Depression and how to make it all better, his favorite dog, King Tut, was all stressed because he thought it was up to him to guard the Hoover family and also the White House.  So he would patrol the lawn every night, and he would bark at people who came in to see President Hoover.  And all this stress made him get all frustrated and sad, and he didn't feel like eating, so he lost weight.  And finally President Hoover sent King Tut away to a place where he could be more relaxed and happy, but King Tut did not feel relaxed and happy.  Instead, he just kept not eating, and he kept wasting away until he died.

President Hoover was very sad when King Tut died, but he did not tell the American people that he was sad about his dog because he knew people were worried about lots of other important things, like where to get food to eat.  And also President Hoover was a very private man, which is one reason why people didn't like him, because they thought he wasn't very warm and caring.  So when President Hoover tried to get re-elected in 1932, he lost to another dog lover named Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

After President Hoover wasn't president anymore, he and Mrs. Hoover went to live in their house in California.  Sometimes they liked to get in their car and just go driving for hundreds of miles and visit mining camps and all sorts of places.  Also Mr. Hoover liked to go fishing, and he even wrote a book about fishing.  All together, he wrote 16 books.

When Mr. Hoover died in 1964, he was 90 years old.  He was retired from being President for 31 years, which is the longest retirement yet of any president.  I don't know if he still had dogs when he was old, but I like to think that he did.

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