President Trump recently did what hundred of presidents did before him: pardon a turkey, or more often a pair, during Thanksgiving. The turkeys, once pardoned make their way to Gobbler Rest where they are free to live out their days. Trump, showing a rather cavalier sense of humor, joked about how he was unable to reverse Obama’s decision to pardon Tator and Tot the previous year. Trying to remove Obamacare and revoke turkey pardons may not be exactly the same. Still, beyond that, we wanted to look at some other aspects of the turkey pardon. Just where do these turkeys come from?
The best source we found for the background of the gobbler pardoning ceremony was a 2013 article from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association posted on the AVMA website.
The story goes over the experience of veterinarian Bob Evans who, in 2013, was a key player in the turkey ceremony. While most people likely imagine a farm full of turkeys where a lucky turkey is simply plucked from the line to the slaughterhouse there is A LOT more planning that goes into the turkey.
The turkeys come from the National Turkey Federation and have been coming from the same location since the Truman years. The turkeys have an extensive team which includes groomers, veterinarians and a long list of other caretakers. Bob Evans is one of the few food industry veterinarians that spends hours grooming, bathing, and entertaining turkeys. Dr. Evans was the veterinarian in charge of overseeing the flock of roughly 40 birds raised specifically for the presidential pardon ceremony. The birds are chosen for their colors, which are not fully developed until early adulthood. Because the ceremony calls for a colorful and beautiful bird they can’t be sure they have the right one until the bird is older.
The birds are also exposed to loud music and frequent human interaction. The ceremony is a loud, boisterous event (as is any event with The Donald!) and most turkeys would just plain freak out if they weren’t prepared for the ceremony. Out of the 40 turkeys, the two with the most confidence and beauty are chosen to be pardoned. Only one turkey officially receives the pardon both turkeys are spared the fate of their feathered friends.
With a team of veterinarians, technicians, groomers and a long list of other caretakers, the 2013 turkeys ended up costing around $375 per pound. With each bird typically weighing around 40 lbs that means the turkeys cost around $15,000….each! That doesn’t account for all the turkeys that don’t make it to official ceremony.
For me, it sort of ruined the idea of one lucky turkey making it out of the slaughterhouse and into greener pastures. What do you think?
They say that a dog is man’s best friend. The world that we live in is often a lonely place and it is important to have a faithful companion and if anyone could use a canine friend in a dark world it would have to be President Trump. Currently, President Trump does not have a dog but if he did, what type of dog would he have?
For anyone that knows President Trump well, they would tell you that he would only choose a dog in a certain way. The way that he would choose a dog is by having a “Doggie Apprentice Competition”. He would select five dogs and put them through a difficult competition process. Each dog would be required to perform specific acts, tests and skills. The winning dog would receive the “privilege” of having President Trump as its owner.
I suspect that the five different breeds of dogs that he would select would be a Rottweiler, a German Shepherd, a Pitbull, a French Poodle, and a Cocker Spaniel. I can’t begin to imagine how Trump would decide on the breeds so we’ve selected them mostly randomly for the purposes of this thought experiment. Each competition would have a winner and a loser. The loser would be eliminated and the winner of each competition would receive a special reward. Only the losing dog would be eliminated whereas all of the remaining dogs would move on to the next round of competition.
The competition would probably begin with a performance test. Each dog would be trained by a team of professional dog trainers to perform a special trick. The dog that performed the best trick, according to President Trump, would be the winner. The dog that performed the worst trick would be kicked out of the competition. The dog trainers would choose a trick that was suited for the breed of dog.
Here’s how I think it will play out: In the first competition the Rottweiler performed a “Roll Over Trick”, the German Shepherd a “Fetch the Stick Trick”, the Pitbull performed a “Walk on your Hind Legs Trick”, the French Poodle a “Jump Through the Hoops Trick”, and the Cocker Spaniel performed a “Play Dead Trick”. The winning dog was the French Poodle and the losing dog was the Pitbull.The French Poodle received a plate of filet mignon as its reward.
The French Poodle received a plate of filet mignon as its reward.
The next competition for the four remaining dogs was the cute competition. Each dog was professionally groomed and then displayed on a runway before President Trump. Each of the dogs was gorgeous but the President chose the Cocker Spaniel as the cutest dog. The losing dog was the Rottweiler and therefore the Rottweiler had to leave the competition. As a reward the Cocker Spaniel was given a one week, all expenses paid vacation to the infamous world renowned dog spa, Doggie Heaven. No, that isn’t a euphemism. The Trump doesn’t use euphemisms.
The level of the competition now intensified immensely as there were only three dogs remaining. The next criteria for the competition was to see which dog provided the best protection. President Trump took each dog for a walk on the White House lawn. A pretend mugger would attempt to attack President Trump at some point during the walk. How would the dogs react and which dog would come to President Trump’s aid?
The winning dog was not the dog that many chose. It was the French Poodle. The most fearsome of all canines.
There now remained only two dogs left in the competition. Which one would win? The final competition involved food. Each dog received three bowls of food. The first bowl contained an appetizer, a dog biscuit. The second bowl contained the main meal, Kibbles. The third bowl contained a desert, a dog chew. The dogs were expected to eat the entire meal in a proper order. First the appetizer, then the main meal, and finally the desert. Whichever dog performed this culinary feat in the right order would be the winner.
The Cocker Spaniel, unfortunately, ate the desert first, the meal second, and the appetizer third. The French Poodle ate the appetizer first, the meal second, and the desert third. As a result, the French Poodle was declared the winner of the “Doggie Apprentice Competition” and as a reward received President Trump as its new owner. The final outcome was not too surprising for many because it is a well-known fact that the French have had years of enlightenment when it comes to culinary fair.
Update: When we first wrote this article we didn’t have any information about what dog Trump would pick. Now it looks like a little guy named Patton is a good candidate:
Okay, so you all know that I was pre-vet for several years before I decided to ditch the whole science thing and pursue a humanities degree. But I still picked up a minor in biology and I strongly disagree with the idea of over specialization! So I’m adding a post type to Presidential Pup called “Veterinary Corner”. These posts will be based on my own research but will also include fact checking from Dr. E from Parkside Animal Health Center.
Just to be clear, despite having a doctor involved, that does not mean that this or other posts constitute medical advice! This is just for fun and informational purposes! Always take the advice of your veterinarian!
“My Cat Keeps Sneezing But Seems Fine!?”
So let’s get right into it! For the first one in our series, I’m answering a question that I had about my cat Washington. Washington is a 2 year old gray and white shelter cat. He is also the best cat I’ve ever had! He gets along great with my two dogs and is generally just a happy little feline! But about 6 months ago he started sneezing pretty frequently. Everything else was the same though, he was still eating, drinking and sleeping normally. Everything else seemed fine! So while this certainly doesn’t sound like a medical emergency, I started to get pretty worried after a while. So I called Dr. E and asked “What should I do? My cat keeps sneezing but seems fine!?” Here are the two major concerns you have to decide between:
Consider Environmental Irritants
The first thing to look for is basic changes to the environment. There’s a saying in both human and veterinary medicine that goes something like, “When you hear hoofbeats, look for the horse, not the zebra.” It comments on the tendency of veterinarians, and laypeople, to jump to the most complicated and often most unlikely conclusion first. It’s with that in mind that Dr. E asked me to look at the simple possibility of an environmental change first before considering flesh eating bacteria or other extraordinary concerns.
Living in Colorado means very dry air! Washington may just be sensitive to climate, just like people get sensitive to the dry Colorado weather. Something as simple as adding a humidifier to your home may help the situation. Often, we see bloody nasal discharge which makes pet owners totally flip. But the reality is, bloody nasal discharge is more often a result of dryness in the nasal passages than some major underlying disease.
Check the litter! Even if you’re scooping frequently, old litter can create small irritants as it dissolves and ages. This can cause your cat to keep sneezing despite everything else being fine since the sneezing will most often occur around litter box time. You can also try changing the litter. Just like people’s sensitivities change with time so does your cat’s! So just because Washington has never had a problem with clumping litter before doesn’t mean it hasn’t become a problem now.
Clean the house! Cats love to find little nooks and crannies and this often means find their way into dusty and dander filled spots of the house. Check your cat’s preferred hangouts for areas of dirt and debris.
Consider the Feline Herpes Virus or Feline Upper Respiratory Infection
Since Washington comes from a shelter environment, he almost certainly was exposed to the Feline Herpes Virus. Even if he wasn’t a shelter cat, almost all cats have been exposed to the herpes virus. Most cats carry the virus but it won’t become evident unless the cat gets stressed out. This is going to be different for most cats. If your cat does have feline herpes virus and keeps sneezing but seems fine then your cat probably is fine. If you see additional symptoms, like anorexia, congestion or conjunctivitis (discharge around the eyes) you should certainly bring your cat in to see your veterinarian. (And as a side note, I can’t recommend Dr. E and Parkside enough if you need an Aurora veterinarian.) But back to the topic at hand! Herpes virus is just one of many components of an upper respiratory infection and any symptoms beyond sneezing could indicate a more concerning type of infection.
Herpes virus flare ups may not require a visit to the veterinarian. Once you know your cat has the virus you can monitor closely for signs but since it is a virus there’s little that can be done at the initial stages.
If you see any additional medical concerns then it’s time to see your veterinarian.
Horses, not Zebras!
So there you have it! That’s us looking for horses when we hear hooves (or sneezing) rather than hunting zebras. While there are a lot more things that could be going on when your cat sneezes investigating these first two problems is generally the best way to go.
Thank you Dr. E for allowing me to put information from Washington’s visit into this post! And if you live in Aurora and want to visit Parkside, check them out at:
The First Dog. A truly sought out position with mountains of history behind it! One of the most famous presidential pups, Bo the Portuguese Water Dog, is perhaps the most famous of the POTUS pups. Perhaps one of the most popular dogs in the world, Bo is a superstar!
I know it’s been a little while since Bo was in office, but he is still quite famous. Additionally, his history and presence in the white house became a major animal welfare event since Bo is a purebred dog from a dog breeder- rather than a shelter dog.
Let’s start with a quick profile on Bo!
What kind of dog is Bo?
Bo is a male purebred Portuguese Water Dog, which while not an ultra rare breed is far from an everyday occurrence at the dog park. Water dogs have a long history of working closely with humans and in the past they were trained to travel from ship to ship carrying messages off Portugal of Portugaul. Even more interesting, these dogs were used to literally herd fish into the nets of fisherman. I wonder which creative fisherman was the first to train his dog to help him fish! And did his friends believe it until they saw it!?
Haven’t I seen dogs like this have strange haircuts?
You have indeed! These dogs are often shown with a funny haircut that leaves their hind end shaved with the rest of the body furry and fluffy. This is a traditional cut used by the working dogs on the coast of Portugal. It allows for the dogs to protect their vital organs of the chest and thorax while leaving the hind end unencumbered allowing for faster and more efficient swimming.
The Obamas typically leave Bo with a cut that is roughly the same length all over. While many dogs of this breed are all black, Bo has a white chest that makes him look almost like he is wearing a tuxedo. Barrack has joked before that Bo is always ready to go with his tuxedo attire!
Where did Bo come from?
Bo came from a small breeder in Boyd, Texas and is the son of Watson and Penny. Who are dogs, in case that wasn’t clear. While I couldn’t find the details on how Bo was chosen, his brothers and sisters certainly got a lot of attention. One of Bo’s littermates ended up with Senator Ted Kennedy. This a very special and politically aligned litter for sure!
But Bo wasn’t always with the Obamas! He was originally sold to an unknown buyer, presumably in Texas, before being brought back to the breeder for an unknown reason.
Just how famous is this dog?
Well, he’s met the Pope among hundreds of other important world leaders. He’s also appeared on the Ellen show and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Which makes him pretty famous. Bo was the First Dog for some time and as such, it is impossible for him not to end up in the spotlight. Add to it that the Obama family has never been shy about sharing the camera with Bo and you have one of the most famous first dogs of the century. The dog essentially grew up in front of the world, as there have been a number of pictures and videos taken of the family walking and playing with the dog. There are even some pictures of Obama goofing off with the dog and running around with him throughout various wings of the White House.
Why not a shelter dog?
As you know, I’m a big support of shelters across the country. The world already has too many dogs and spay/neuter efforts aren’t keeping up. Despite numerous petitions from animal welfare organizations requesting that the Obama’s adopt a shelter pet, the family decided on this breed of dog due to the fact that their daughter Malia has allergies. Portuguese Water Dogs are thought to be hypoallergenic which means that Malia’s allergies would be minimally affected. PWD’s are also one of the few larger breed dogs whose coat is thought to be hypoallergenic.
I love history and I often find that people who don’t read up on history miss out on many interesting things. Most people just know and retain the basic things they learned in school. There is so much more to know! I have gathered some weird and interesting facts to share with those of you who would like to know a bit more about the history of our country and its past presidents.
Thomas Jefferson had a thing for chairs. Jefferson vandalized Shakespeare’s chair and he is known to have invented the swivel chair. He wasn’t one for public speaking, but clearly he had a thing for chairs.
The smallest president was James Madison. He was just over 5 feet tall and only weighed about 100 pounds.
John Quincy Jones enjoyed skinny dipping. The president who hated Jefferson was well-known to enjoy skinny dipping. It was so well-known that a reporter used it to her advantage. She kept his clothes hostage until he agreed to give her an interview.
Martin van Buren was the first president born in the US. Van Buren most likely also had the most nicknames as president. His nicknames included ‘Sly Fox’, Little Magician’, and Red Fox of Kinderhook.
John Tyler was the most hated president. Tyler became president after William Henry Harrison died suddenly. The whole country hated him, his whole cabinet resigned because of his policies, and he was the first president who faced impeachment.
James K Polk was the least fun president. Polk banned alcohol, playing cards, and dancing from the White House. It must have been quite dull during his presidency.
Abraham Lincoln was a man with many talents. Lincoln is one of the most loved past presidents and had many talents. He was bartender, a good wrestler, and many women adored him.
Ulysses S grant ended the Klu Klux Klan. Grant isn’t that well-known to people from other countries, but he has one great thing to his name – he dismantled the KKK during his term in office.
The US presidents always keep things interesting. If not with the policies they change or scandals they cause, it is with their pets. Let’s take a look at a few:
Theodore Roosevelt had a pet badger. After a trip, Roosevelt returned home with a badger he called Josiah. He gave Josiah to his son as a pet and the two became great friends.
Andrew Jackson had a pet parrot. Jackson was a beloved president and known as the first president of the people. He had a pet parrot called Poll who enjoyed chatting. He had a tendency for foul language which he supposedly learned from Jackson.
Franklin D Roosevelt had a Scottish terrier. The beloved Scotty was called Fala and he was always at the president’s side. The two were so attached that the Secret Service called Fala ‘The Informer’ because people would know where the president was based on sightings of Fala.
The Bush’s Springer Spaniels. George W Bush had a Spaniel called Millie. She gave birth to a litter of puppies at the White House and Bush’s son adopted one and named her Spot Fetcher. Spot Fetcher returned many years later to take the place of her mom and become a first dog as well.
The Kennedy family had Pushinka. A white mixed breed dog was sent to President Kennedy by the Russians as a gift and a taunt. She was the pup of one of the first dogs to go to space and return safely. The president called her Pushinka.
Some other presidents had cats, hamsters, goats, and even sheep as pets. Many pets have lived in the White House and enjoyed the life of luxury. Some may seem strange, but it is good to have a president that loves animals.
Most of the US presidents had pets, most often dogs, while they lived at the White House. Some of the pets were strange, but regardless, pets have always been a part of the White House. Today, we look at a bit of history on some of the past presidents and we throw in a fact or two about the pets they owned.
Thomas Jefferson was the 3rd president of the United States and also the main author of the Declaration of Independence. Some of Jefferson’s words at the end of his term made many people believe that it was not always a post he enjoyed. He had two bear cubs and mockingbird as pets. No dogs. Just bears.
Andrew Jackson was one of the first presidents who was surrounded by rumors and drama. He was the first president who was the subject of an attempted assassination. His term as president ran anything but smooth and he was partly responsible for sending America into the Depression. He owned a parrot, horses, and ponies.
William Henry Harrison
One of the lesser known presidents was William Henry Harrison. He spent a mere 30 days in office before he died of enteric fever. He had a goat, but also no dog.
After President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, Andrew Johnson took his place. He became president in the time during which slavery was still a huge issue and no resolution had been reached. It was quite a tumultuous time in America and after the Radical Republicans passed laws to restrict the office of the president, Johnson missed being impeached by one vote. He also owned no pets.
Many more presidents who had dramatic and disastrous terms in office or who had dealt with an overload of problems since they stepped into the position did not own pets. It could be said that the presidents who owned dogs, or at least some pets, had better terms in office than those who did not. Coincidence? I think not!
The first President of the United States was also the first president to have dogs. And like many people during that time, he had quite a few more than one. Even more impressive still, the AKC (American Kennel Club) has records of the dogs he had along with the bloodline. That means that if you’re willing to pay a pretty penny you could have the canine offspring of George Washington’s best furry friend!
The George Washington was more than a little creative with the names of his dogs too! Are you confident enough to name your dog Sweetlips and True Love and then shout that across the dog park? While the first president was. Minus the dog park part. I don’t’ think that was on the list of Revolutionary times priorities. Rather than dog parks most of Washington’s dog were used for hunting. But unlike many owners of hunting dogs who ignore them most of the year, Washington took pride in his canines and made it a point to regularly inspect their kennels.
The First President had more than just hunting dogs though. He also had a variety of terriers, Greyhounds and Great Pyrenees dogs. All of which probably had some of the best lives of any canines history!
Washington’s favorite dog was named Dr. Frank. As usual, the dog had a very unusual and somewhat silly name. Many of the canine names from Washington’s era, and from Washington himself, seem more like the names of race horses than dogs! Dr. Frank was a hound mix that was a result of two dogs being incorrectly gendered by his kennel servant. None of the other hounds in the litter survived except for Dr. Frank. Washington’s favorite hound was always seen at the front of the pack during his hunts.