Airedale terrier Paul Pry was the half-brother of President Warren Harding’s Laddie Boy, and belonged to the Coolidge family. Paul came to the White House shortly before the departure of his sibling, Peter Pan but seemed to share some of the same tendencies. Paul Pry was known to snap at ankles and was even called a “bad” pet by the Evening Independent newspaper in one of their articles due his mischievous behavior.
The First Lady herself admits about Paul that “…Paul was perfectly uncontrollable, a great overgrown awkward puppy. I have never seen the proverbial bull in a china shop but after seeing Paul in the sitting room I have no great desire to extend my observations”.
When Paul first arrived at the White House his name was actually Laddie Buck. But after watching him for a few days, First Lady Grace Coolidge changed his name to Paul Pry. When she was asked why, she said that it was because he always “seemed to have his nose in everybody’s business”. Paul did enjoy playing with his sibling Rob Roy on the White House lawn, and would often respond to people whistling outside the fence with an inquisitive look.
Paul was protective of the Coolidge family, particularly the First Lady – too protective. According to Mrs. Coolidge he “…is like some people, always keeping you guessing and always being funny. True to his breeding he assumed charge over one individual, that one in his case being me and he will not let my maid come into my room to pick up my things if I am not there”. This was evidenced when the First Lady sent her maid into her bedroom to retrieve a forgotten item. Paul Pry leapt across the room and bit the maid, sending her running.
Mrs. Coolidge was very fond of Paul and rather than initially giving him away, she resorted to muzzling him. However, Paul’s manners continued to worsen and in 1925 after Paul had shown his disdain for several White House staffers he was given to a detachment of Marines called the “Devil Dogs” for some intensive training – but they couldn’t handle him either.
From there, Paul Pry was sent to the skipper of the Presidential yacht the Mayflower, Captain Andrews. The captain took him home but soon returned Paul to the Marines in exasperation, saying that every time he spanked his children he had to lock Paul up or else he would “lose an arm”. After several escape attempts and one episode of eating spoiled fish which sent him to the vet, Paul was taken to a Navy Yard. Happily, Paul became attached to many of the children there and this is where he spent the rest of his days.