Wednesday, October 12, 2011


President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was the 34th president of the United States, supposedly liked dogs a whole bunch, but it's hard to find photos of him with his dogs.  I'm not sure why this is, but maybe his dogs just didn't like having their pictures taken.

Anyway, the Eisenhower family first came to America from Switzerland in the 18th century.  Their name was originally Eisenhaur, which is German for "iron striker," but it got misspelled on the emigration papers.

The future president was born in Texas on October 14, 1890, but the family moved to Abilene, Kansas when he was two, so he always thought of Abilene as his home town.  All of the boys in the family were called "Ike" or some version of it, such as "Big Ike" or "Little Ike."  Dwight was called "Ugly Ike."

When he was born, Mr. Eisenhower was actually named David Dwight, but he was always called "Dwight," so when he went to the United States Military Academy in 1911, he changed the order of his names.  In 1915, he left the Academy with a commission of 2nd lieutenant.

While he was stationed in Texas, Lt. Eisenhower met Mamie Geneva Doud, who was from Boone, Iowa.  They got married in Denver on July 1, 1916.  The next year, they had a son named Doud Dwight, but sadly, he died of scarlet fever when he was only 3 years old.  Their second son was named John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower, and he was born in 1922.  John went to West Point when he grew up and later was the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium.  One of his four children, Dwight David II, married President Nixon's daughter, Julie.  Camp David got its name from him, although I don't really know why.

But getting back to the first Dwight David Eisenhower, he served in World War I in the infantry and tank corps.  Then after the war, he had a whole bunch of different administrative jobs, including being an aide to General MacArthur in the Philippines.  He gradually worked his way up through the ranks, but even though he was a very good administrator, he didn't do anything spectacular or memorable.  So if World War II hadn't come along, Lt. Colonel Eisenhower probably would have retired as a nobody, and that would have been the end of it.

Of course, the war changed all that, and Eisenhower got promoted to Brigadier General in 1941.  Then he was made the Commanding General of European Theater Operations, and later also of the North African Theater of Operations.  And finally in 1944, President Roosevelt appointed General Eisenhower the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force.  Which is a really long title, and it shows that General Eisenhower had a whole lot of responsibility.

Anyway, you probably know how the war turned out.  But maybe you don't know that General Eisenhower had two Scottish Terriers with him during the Africa campaign.  Their names were Caacie and Telek.  There were rumors around headquarters that Telek had been a gift to the General from his Army driver and mistress, Kay Summersby.

After the war, Gen. Eisenhower became the president of Columbia University in New York, but then he took a leave of absence from that job so that he could be the Supreme Commander of NATO for a while.  He retired from active service on May 31, 1952 and went back to being university president, but only for a little while.

During the 1952 election, Mr. Eisenhower got nominated by the Republican party to run for U.S. president, with Richard Nixon as his vice-president.  They won the election, and later they got elected to a second term.

When the Eisenhowers moved into the White House, they had a Scottie named Spunky and also a weimaraner named Heidi.  Whenever a photographer was trying to take a picture of Mrs. Eisenhower, Heidi insisted on getting in the way, like maybe she thought the photographer would turn out to be a dangerous person, and that Heidi would need to protect her mom.  The other problem with Heidi was that she kept peeing on the rug in the Diplomatic Room.  So finally she got sent back to Gettysburg, PA to live on the Eisenhower farm.

President Eisenhower could not run for a third term because the 22nd Amendment had been passed, and it said that presidents could only have two terms in office, and then they had to go find something else to do.  President Eisenhower was the first president to have to obey this new law.  Also, he was the first president after the Former Presidents Act had been passed, which said that people who used to be presidents could get a pension, a staff, and Secret Service guards for the rest of their lives.

When Mr. and Mrs. Eisenhower retired, they went to live on their farm, which was right nextdoor to the battlefield at Gettysburg.  In 1967, they donated the farm to the National Park Service, and now it is the Eisenhower National Historic Site.

President Eisenhower died of congestive heart failure on March 28, 1969.  He was buried in Abilene, KS at the Eisenhower Presidential Library.  He was buried next to his little son Doud, and Mrs. Eisenhower was buried there too, when she died in 1979.

I am sorry that I couldn't find much information about the Eisenhower dogs.  I think that learning all about them would have been much more interesting than learning about what Gen. Eisenhower did during World War II.  At least that's my opinion, and I'm telling it to you, whether you wanted it or not!


  1. Good morning Piper, this is Di. My mom read your blog to us this morning and there must have been LOTS of stuff she didn't know because she kept saying, "I didn't know that...I didn't know that, etc.," I shouldn't tell this but she also didn't know the word "emigration" because she always uses "immigration" but mom looked it up to know the difference. OK...back to "Ike" also didn't know that he had a weimaraner, which mom at first glance thought might be a Vizsla. Thanks for the blog! I'm not sure about this president stuff...I just don't think it's a job I would want. My mom pointed out the blog ISN’T about being a president, it’s about what dog a president owned.
    Love, Di

  2. Dear Di,
    I wouldn't want to be president either, or even a president's dog! So that means I don't think Mom should run for president, but she says there is no way she would even *think* about doing that, so I'm in luck! One thing Mom and I didn't know was that Gen. Eisenhower was fooling around with his lady driver during the war. I used to think all presidents were well-behaved and mostly perfect, but Mom just starts laughing when I say that!
    Love, Piper

  3. Hi Piper....AP here. Just had to make another comment. I knew about K. Sommersby many years ago. In those days women didn't have much say or power so Mamie just sat there looking pretty (?) and supporting her dear wonderful hubby. UGH!!
    Love, AP