Dogs just make everything better, don’t they? Even politics–which might be one of the most controversial conversational topics around. Now, we could argue that “cats vs. dogs” is also highly controversial, but let’s ignore that for now, shall we? Dogs have often played spotlit roles in politics, and the news pays attention to presidential pups or other pets people in political power have.
And politicians aren’t afraid to use dogs to their voter-swaying advantage either. For instance, let’s talk about Dogs in Politics Day, which is every September 23rd. This marks the September 23rd, 1952. Senator Richard Nixon went on a television and radio broadcast to discuss and refute charges that he’d used campaign funding money for personal reasons. He then spent half an hour breaking down his financial accounts for all to hear.
So what part of this infamous speech had such a powerful impact on people? Why, the part involving a dog, of course! Here’s the special snippet:
A man down in Texas heard Pat [Nixon’s wife] on the radio mention the fact that our two youngsters would like to have a dog. And, believe it or not, the day before we left on this campaign trip we got a message from Union Station in Baltimore saying they had a package for us. We went down to get it. You know what it was?
It was a little Cocker Spaniel dog in a crate that he’d sent all the way from Texas. Black and white spotted. And our little girl — Tricia, the six-year old — named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it.
This simple appeal to the country’s love for a dog helped swing the tide of public opinion massively in Nixon’s favor and helped him become vice president for two terms. Ever since, that day has been known as “Checkers Day,” and is now also known as Dogs in Politics Day, to remind us just how much our canine companions mean, even to those in the highest offices of power.
Checkers went on to enjoy quite a lot of public adoration, until she died in 1964 and was buried in Bide-a-Wee Pet Cemetery, located in Long Island, NY.
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