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Two of the youngest presidents to reside in the White House brought their families and a menagerie of pets along with them. A pony, sheep, dogs, cats, a macaw, guinea pigs, rats, a snake, and many more animal friends lived at the Theodore Roosevelt White House. In 1908 the Washington Evening Star observed, "There is no home in Washington so full of pets of high and low degree as is the White House, and those pets not only occupy the attention of the children, but the President is himself their good friend, and has a personal interest in every one of them."

The family of John F. Kennedy brought pet hamsters Debbie and Billie; a gray cat, Tom Kitten; and a canary, Robin, to the White House. Eventually, ponies Macaroni and Tex; Pushinka; Welsh terrier Charley; German shepherd Clipper; cocker spaniel Shannon; parakeets Maybelle and Bluebell; and Wolf, an Irish wolfhound, would come and go.