Perhaps no presidential family had more fun than Teddy Roosevelt's. At the White House, and at historic Sagamore Hill (the family's longtime retreat in Long Island, New York), Theodore Roosevelt's six kids grew up with no fewer than 40 animals.
Nearly every dog had its day at the Roosevelts'. Jack the Terrier was so revered, he was given his own funeral service.
Park Ranger Scott Gurney and correspondent Mo Rocca paid observance at Sagamore Hill's pet cemetery.
"If your name is on that rock, you're something special," Gurney said.
And special pets were given special names.
Josiah the badger was a real honey. Eli the macaw was a standout. And Peter Rabbit kept the place jumping, as did Fierce, the family's one-legged rooster.
But the adorable little furballs named after local dignitaries caused some confusion.
Gurney recalled: "Two of the kids come rushing in, 'Oh, Father, Father, Bishop Doane has had children upstairs in the bed!' Now they have to explain to the guests that Bishop Doane is, in fact, a guinea pig."
Surprisingly, the Roosevelts didn't own a bull moose!
What's not surprising is that the man known as "the conservation president" would see the value in raising his children around animals.
"He thought having a pet would teach that child responsibility, and the empathy that it requires to take care of another being," Gurney said.
Case in point: when Archie Roosevelt was lying sick on an upper floor of the White House, youngest brother Quentin brought their pony, Algonquin, up for a visit via the new White House elevator.
"That's a fun family!" said Rocca.
"Ted, the oldest son, phrased it: 'We were expected to have fun, and we did!'" Gurney said.
For more info:
- Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, Oyster Bay, N.Y.
Story produced by Young Kim. Editor: Steven Tyler.
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