Truman Administration Dogs

When it comes to dogs, Harry Truman was best known for saying, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” He also said: “Children and dogs are as necessary to the welfare of the country as Wall Street and the railroads.”

Purebred dogs in the Truman administration included, “Mike,” an Irish Setter pup given to Truman’s daughter, Margaret, by his Postmaster General, Robert Hannegan, and “’Feller,’ a poor five week old Cocker Spaniel gifted to the Trumans unsolicited. After a rough trip to reach the White House and a brief stay there, Feller was given to the White House physician who gave the dog to the now Camp David manager who gave the dog to his father. Happily, the dog lived out his year happily at the family farm in Greenfield, Ohio.

In 1947, Mrs. Harry Truman invited Eleanor Roosevelt to make a speech during the March of Dime campaign to fight polio. It was Roosevelt’s first public appearance behind a White House microphone and she asked that “two dimes instead of one” be given by Americans to fight the disease from which her husband suffered.

A rally followed the former first lady’s speech was included a parade of Great Danes, all with March of Dimes canisters attached to their collars.

This image of a Great Dane extending a paw to hotel personnel was taken during the 1953 March of Dimes campaign. The dog was, “Diane Katherine O’Donnell,” and she’s shown with a March of Dimes coin bank in the shape of a miniature iron lung strapped to her side. Diane was the official mascot of the Tacoma Police Department.

The photograph is believed to have been taken on behalf of the Loyal Order of Moose Tacoma Lodge 435 and more credit is happily given upon receipt of information.

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