President Calvin Coolidge and his wife Grace Coolidge remain to this day two of the most prolific pet owners in the history of the White House. They had common animals such as dogs, cats, and birds, but they also had more exotic pets such as a goose, a bobcat, and even a pair of raccoons named Rebecca and Reuben.
Reuben joined the Coolidge clan in early 1928, when the President and his wife thought that perhaps Rebecca would enjoy some companionship. However, it was widely reported that Reuben and Rebecca did not get along very well. Which may have been for the best, else the Coolidges might have found themselves caring for a whole litter of raccoons.
While Rebecca was an escape artist and often drove the family, staff, and secret service crazy with her antics, Reuben proved to be even better at escapism. By summer of 1928, Reuben had managed to escape for good. Shortly thereafter, fearing for her safety as she continued to escape the grounds, Rebecca was given over to the care of the Rock Creek Zoo (currently the Washington Zoo.)
It’s likely that the staff and secret service secretly breathed a sigh of relief at the departure of these two mischievous imps, who during their time in the White House managed to overturn houseplants, unscrew lightbulbs, and tear up upholstered furniture. As raccoons are now illegal to own in the District of Columbia, it’s likely that the Coolidges will be the last Presidential family to own raccoons.