Buddy the Dog

In December 1997, President Clinton wanted a companion to help him adjust to his daughter, Chelsea, going away to college.  President Clinton adopted a 3-month-old chocolate Labrador puppy, which he named in honor of his great-uncle Henry “Buddy” Grisham.  President Clinton’s uncle trained dogs for 50 years, and, as a child, the President talked with him often about raising dogs. It was these fond memories that inspired him to name his new puppy, Buddy. 

President Clinton and Buddy the dog quickly hit it off, and Buddy began following the President on walks across the White House Lawn, to press conferences, and even to some White House events. Buddy’s favored locales to hang-out were the East Room and the Oval Office where he would watch and sometimes distract President Clinton while he was working. He also loved to play catch with President Clinton.  

Buddy the Dog

Not everything went smoothly upon Buddy’s arrival in the White House.  From their first official meeting, both Socks and Buddy were immediately suspicious of each other.  Relations between the two pets would become so heated that President Clinton and White House staffers would have to intervene.  First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote in Dear Socks, Dear Buddy, “Concerned allies set up several summits in an effort to broker a truce between the pets. It wasn’t until the day that Socks swatted Buddy on the nose and sent the puppy off yelping, though, that they began to get along fine. Buddy now seems to understand that Socks is a pretty tough character, complete with claws, even if he does weigh only nine pounds.”  

Sadly, the truce the First Lady writes about was short lived, and the First Family decided after their time in the White House was finished to separate the two.  Buddy would live with President Clinton and the First Lady at their house in Chappaqua, New York while Socks went to live with his favorite White House staffer, President Clinton’s former secretary Bettie Currie. 

Although Buddy never reached the same popularity as his cat sibling, Socks, he still had plenty of admirers.  There were numerous web pages dedicated to him as well as an official fan club.  Like Socks the Cat, Buddy received thousands of letters a year from his loyal fans, and the White House would have volunteers respond with postcards and lithographic prints featuring Buddy’s image and paw print.