When Dogs and Cats are Too Boring


President Theodore Roosevelt’s pet one-legged rooster. Photo: National Photo Company, Library of Congress.


Are dogs and cats too ordinary for you? Does it seem like EVERYONE has a guinea pig? If you are looking for a pet that reflects your distinctiveness, you might consider the following pets from history:

  • Tycho Brahe, the celebrated 16th century astronomer, had a pet moose who was allowed free access to his residence. This created problems — ultimately fatal — for the enormous creature, who drank too much beer at a dinner party and fell down a flight of stairs to his death.
  • Poet Lord Byron protested Cambridge Trinity College’s rule against having dogs on the premises and found a different pet: a bear. When Byron pointed out that there were no campus rules against bears, the college administrators grudgingly allowed him to keep the creature as his roommate.
  • President John Quincy Adams received a gift from the Marquis de Lafayette: an alligator. Adams was so pleased with the creature that he kept it as a pet in the White House.
  • President Theodore Roosevelt kept more than 20 animals with him at the White House, including a one-legged rooster, dogs, cats, and guinea pigs. His summer home in New York was home to some additional presidential pets, such as a zebra, hyena, lions, and bears.



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