President George H. W. Bush had a problem so important that he sent a memo to White House staff asking them to take a pledge: Don't feed his dog Ranger, who was packing on the pounds.
That memo, countless anecdotes and more than 200 photos are featured in Dallas author Jennifer Boswell Pickens' new book "Pets at the White House."
The volume offers a glimpse of what life is like for pets at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and what those pets have meant to their famous owners.
The coffee-table book devotes a chapter to each administration's pets from Kennedy to Obama. And an introduction gives an overview of the animals that were part of first families prior to 1961.
Those include the array of pets cared for by Calvin Coolidge and his family, including Rebecca the raccoon who walked on a leash.
Photographs include first daughter Caroline Kennedy perched on her pony Macaroni on the White House's South Lawn to the elder Bush walking across the same lawn with brown-and-white-springer spaniel Millie as her puppies trail behind them.
She also gives readers an array of anecdotes about first pets. She writes that Franklin D. Roosevelt's Scottish terrier Fala traveled with him, attended galas with world leaders and even contributed to the war effort by giving up toys for a scrap rubber collection campaign.