I've always been fascinated with Abraham Lincoln – he of the stovepipe hat and kick-ass memorial – and was pleased to learn recently that Abe was also quite the animal lover: of dogs, cats and goats, apparently. It was Abe who inspired the whole "pardoning of the turkey" at the White House during Thanksgiving, and taught his two boys that animal cruelty was wrong, wrong, wrong.
The Lincolns owned a dog named Fido in the Illinois years before Abe's presidency – a retrievery/shepherdy-looking mutt who lived inside with the family and trotted along with Abe around town during the day. After the election, it was decided that the particularly skittish Fido would not do well on a train or in a big city, and was placed in the care of a foster family until their potential return.
Among the stipulations for Fido's care:
- not to be tied up alone outside
- allowed inside whenever he scratched at the front door
- allowed access to the dining room during meals
- not to be scolded for coming inside with muddy paws
Now that's my kind of history lesson.