The Roosevelt family had many pets during the course of their lives. Some of those pets were the traditional, and some decidedly not, such as Josiah the badger. In addition to their dogs and cats and other more exotic pets, the Roosevelts also had rabbits. One, of course, carried the name Peter.
Unfortunately, little mention of Peter is made until his death, when Roosevelt mentions the poor rabbit’s funeral to his son Kermit in a letter dated May 28th, 1904. He was given an honorable burial with Archie pulling Peter’s wee coffin in his wagon. “Mother walked behind as chief mourner, she and Archie solemnly exchanging tributes to the worth and good qualities of the departed. Then he was buried, with a fuchsia over the little grave,” Roosevelt told his son Kermit.
It is interesting to note that Roosevelt’s long-time nemesis, William J. Long, wrote a series of books featuring a rabbit named Peter. The difficulty between the two centered around Long’s fiction in which he anthropomorphized animal behavior, which led to Roosevelt’s administration accusing Long of trying to get gullible readers to read his lies. This led to Roosevelt having all of Long’s books removed from children’s libraries.
It ended when Long, tired of the frustrating back-and-forth in the newspapers, invited Roosevelt to come to Stamford and “settle things like men.” Needless to say, Roosevelt did not pick up the thrown glove, choosing to ignore the jibe.