Peter Pan was a white, wire-haired fox terrier that lived with President Calvin Coolidge and his family, and has the distinction of being the first Coolidge dog to reside in the White House. In August of 1923 Peter Pan was given to the Coolidge family by Dr. Alonzo G. Howard of Boston, Massachusetts, who believed that Peter Pan was “destined for greatness”. Along with the terrier, Dr. Howard sent a letter to Coolidge expressing the hope that Peter Pan’s education would be “completed by Mr. Coolidge”.
Unfortunately, the White House was too busy a place for Peter Pan’s poor nerves. According to Margaret Truman, author of White House Pets, Peter Pan was “not the friendliest of dogs. He snapped at people and in general showed a surly disposition”.
Mrs. Coolidge herself said of Peter Pan that he “…was a highly-bred, extremely nervous little fellow, and there were so many people around that he couldn’t get used to us all, and seemed to reason that if he could lay a few by the heel some of his troubles would be alleviated”.
One time, Peter Pan jumped up and tore the skirt right off of a woman visiting the White House, right in front of the President. Another time he got into a scuffle with Laddie Buck near where the President was formally addressing the delegates of the World’s Dairy Congress – causing the President to have to speak over their barking.
Peter Pan did seem to enjoy the company of Coolidge’s secretary, Edward T. Clark, and so Coolidge gave Peter Pan to Clark. And Peter Pan sometimes made it back to visit. On one such occasion he was photographed visiting his old family – and wearing teeny galoshes!