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Cats and Dogs

6 Famous Historical Pets That We Love

The Paw Print

Essential Pet Blog

Who has beautiful red hair, a keen fashion sense, and 7.4 million Instagram followers? If you guessed JiffPom, the adorable teddy bear-esque Pomeranian, you were right! JiffPom is in good company in his Instagram fame with fellow animal kingdom celebrities such as Doug the Pug and the often ‘meme’-orialized Grumpy Cat, and it’s no surprise. We humans love to share our pets with the world and social media has given us the perfect platform to do so! Adoration for our pets is something we all share, so of course famous pets are always trending on social media.

Believe it or not, famous pets aren’t just a hallmark of the digital age- our love for our pets extends far beyond the 21st century. From presidential pooches to avian war-heroes, these animal celebrities have captured the love and attention of the masses and secured their places in history, all without posting a single selfie. Keep reading to learn more about our favorite famous historical pets.

6 Famous Historical Pets

1. Millie Busch

Millie, an English Springer Spaniel, was not only the beloved companion of President George H. W. Bush but also the esteemed “author” of the New York Times bestseller, Millie’s Book: As Dedicated to Barbara Bush. Millie’s White House legacy continued after her stay was over as one of her pups later went on to return to the White House with President George W. Bush.

2. Unsinkable Sam

While there is no hard evidence to support the old wives’ tale that cats have nine lives, the story of Unsinkable Sam the cat sure seems to confirm it. Sam was a German WWII veteran who somehow managed to survive three sinking ships without so much as a scratch. In the aftermath of all three attacks, Sam was always found floating on the wreckage and brought back to safety.

3. Jim Key

Beautiful Jim Key was an early 20th century horse who made a name for himself traveling the countryside with his trainer, Dr. William Key. Dr. Key, an educated former slave, had formed an act with Beautiful Jim that involved counting and spelling, leaving audiences speechless. Dr. Key always made it a point to emphasize that his training methods never included a whip or harsh tactics; he only employed patience and kindness.

4. Cher Ami

Cher Ami was a WWI homing pigeon who is credited for saving the lives of more than 500 men. Major Charles Whittlesey and his troops were trapped behind enemy lines and were being attacked by friendly fire from allied troops who didn’t know their location. Cher Ami delivered a message that read, “WE ARE ALONG THE ROAD PARALLEL 276.4. OUR ARTILLERY IS DROPPING A BARRAGE DIRECTLY ON US. FOR HEAVENS SAKE STOP IT.” Cher Ami was awarded the Croix de Guerre Medal and is on display at the Smithsonian Institution.

5. Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow

For years, it was widely believed that Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was responsible for the 1871 Great Chicago Fire. Legend had it that the cow kicked over the lantern, setting the barn ablaze and igniting the fire that burned most of Chicago to the ground and took the lives of 300 people. Although exonerated in 1997 by Chicago’s Committee of Police and Fire, the tale of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow lives on today and is actually celebrated at a parade on the anniversary of the fire.

6. Greyfriars Bobby

This famous pet holds a special relationship with our Vice President of Marketing as he spent his University years in Scotland walking past this statue every day. Bobby belonged to John Gray, who worked for the Edinburgh City Police in Scotland as a night watchman. When John Gray died he was buried in Greyfriars Churchyard in the Old Town of Edinburgh. Bobby, a Skye Terrier, then spent the rest of his life sitting on his master’s grave. Bobby is said to have sat by the grave for 14 years. He died in 1872 and was buried just inside the gate of Greyfriars Churchyard, not far from John Gray’s grave.

A year later, the English philanthropist Lady Burdett-Coutts was charmed by the story and had a drinking fountain topped with Bobby’s statue (commissioned from the sculptor William Brodie) erected at junction of George IV Bridge and Candlemaker Row (opposite the entrance to the churchyard) to commemorate him.

-Photo courtesy of Wikipedia 

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