Tags: Presidential History | President William Taft | pets

First Pets: Four-Legged or Feathered Friends of President William Taft

By    |   Saturday, 21 November 2015 11:39 PM

Forget about dogs and cats as pets of choice in the White House. When President William Taft was in office he had two cows.

Here's a look at Taft's presidency and his non-traditional pets.

Taft was the 27th president of the U.S. and not fully by any choice of his own. From early in his career, Taft aspired to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. His ambitious wife, Helen, meanwhile, set her sights on becoming first lady. Taft did not want to be president, and even remarked that the four months of campaigning were the most uncomfortable of his life, but did so to appease his wife, according to the White House Historical Association.

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Following the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, Taft came into his term hoping to continue what Roosevelt had started. Unfortunately for Taft he ended up alienating many progressives in the process by supporting acts like the Payne-Aldrich Act, which kept tariff rates high. Taft did not follow the Roosevelt conservation plans, which further alienated his counterparts and ended up with his run of president ending after just one term.

Still, Taft and his wife made quite the impact during their short stint at the White House with their curious choice of pets, cows.

After his presidency, Taft went on to become a professor of law at Yale University, the school he graduated from many years before. After that, President Warren G. Harding named him the 10th chief justice of the U.S.

Taft married Helen Herrot (Nellie) in 1886 after several years of courtship. Helen Taft was determined to gain the spot as first lady and encouraged her husband to take every step necessary to get her there. William and Helen Taft had three children (two boys and one girl): Helen, Robert, and Charles.

When the Tafts moved into the White House, they brought along their prized animal, Mooly Wooly the cow, according to the Presidential Pet Museum. While cows were a common sight at the White House due to their ability to provide dairy to the residency, a pet cow was something new. And although Mooly was used for dairy purposes, she was much more of a family pet than livestock. Unfortunately, Mooly Wooly died while the Tafts were still in the White House and they were given Pauline Wayne as a gift. Often referred to as the “Queen of the Capital Cows,” the pretty 4-year-old, black-and-white, 1,500-pound Holstein-Frasian cow was of registered stock.

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Pauline was so popular, in fact, that the family decided to bottle and sell her milk for 50 cents a bottle to her biggest fans. Many strange events occurred surrounding Pauline – from the time she was misplaced, and another when a teacher stole her milk from the White House's South Lawn. Pauline will no doubt go down in history as the most popular cow to have lived at the White House.

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Forget about dogs and cats as pets of choice in the White House. When President William Taft was in office he had two cows.
President William Taft, pets
Saturday, 21 November 2015 11:39 PM
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