Many animal lovers know and savor that happy moment when a pet dog or cat runs up to greet them at the end of the day and the stresses of work and human interaction are melted away. The more stressful the day, the sweeter that evening reward.

Few jobs are probably more stressful than that of president of the United States, so it’s not surprising that a long line of commanders-in-chief have had de-stressers-in-chief living alongside them. Dogs seem to be first in line to fill this role, but cats, birds, horses, a raccoon and even a cow have found their places to bask in the White House sun.

President Johnson caused a huge controversy among animal lovers after he was photographed picking dogs named Him and Her up by their ears.

The Coolidges had a huge menagerie that included several raccoons, a dozen dogs, canaries, lion cubs, a wallaby, a donkey, a bobcat and a Pygmy hippopotamus, among others.

The Washingtons had dogs, horses and a parrot. Thomas Jefferson had a mockingbird, bear cubs, dogs and a horse, and John Quincy Adams had an alligator. Both Presidents Taft and Harrison had a cow, and dogs, cats, goats and a turkey were only part of the entourage that lived with the Lincoln family. President Nixon had several dogs, but none as well remembered as Checkers, a dog he made famous in his 1952 Checkers speech. Ponies, hamsters, birds, dogs and other animals found room in the Kennedy White House, but probably the most notable of these was the offspring of a Soviet space dog given to JFK by Nikita Khrushchev.