Greenfield’s Presidential Dog

The news reported recently that the Trump family was the first to occupy the White House and not own a dog. While I think that is a win-win for dogs I do have a story about presidential dogs. This was originally published on an earlier version of my website but I think it’s time to bring it back for a second reading.

Feller, an adorable 5-week-old puppy, arrived at the White House as a gift in a giant crate, December 1947.
Feller on the White House lawn.

“Feller, a beautiful blond Cocker Spaniel, was an unsolicited 1947 Christmas gift to President Truman. The Trumans elected to give the puppy to the White House physician, Brigadier General Wallace Graham. Dog lovers around the country attacked the President as being anti-canine. Dr. Graham, soon tiring of the press and publicity, decided to get rid of the dog. He had Truman’s Naval Aide, Adm. James K. Foskett, take Feller to Shangri-La (Camp David). As the camp was not open to the press this seemed to end the Feller story, until now. The Admiral left Feller with the chief-in-charge, Quartermaster Chief George A. Poplin. When Poplin was transferred, Charles G. Ross, President Truman’s secretary, came to camp and told Poplin to leave the dog there. Poplin was relieved as chief-in-charge by Damage Control Chief Ralph O. Loften, who in turn was relieved by Chief Boatswain Robert W. Lyle. In 1953, while Chief Lyle was being transferred to Italy, he sought permission from Naval Aide Admiral Robert L. Dennison to take Feller. Permission was granted, provided that no mention be made that the dog once belonged to Truman. Robert gave Feller to his father, Archie Otis Lyle, who owned a farm just outside Greenfield, Ohio. There Feller lived for many happy years until he died of old age.

As a note of interest, when it became known by the camp crew that a member of the Truman family was to visit Shangri-La, Feller would be taken to a pet groomer in Thurmont just to be looking good in case the Trumans wanted to see him. They never did ask about the dog.”

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