Like a pet fixated on his owner while eagerly awaiting mealtime, the eyes of our nation, and beyond, are focused on November 8th.
That’s the date of the 2016 presidential election, when voters will select the 45th president of the United States through the Electoral College. From the depths of our democratic system will emerge a new commander-in-chief to lead our nation during the next four years in a role considered to be one of the most powerful in the world.
Despite that consequential day being more than seven months away, the election season is already in full swing. Politics tend to elicit opinions from members of the American public in a way not even the ever-present cat vs. dog debate can. The fervor over the 2016 election will only grow in the coming months as we approach the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this July.
While many important issues headline this election season, the well-being of our furry companions remains at the forefront of many pet owners’ minds. Candidate stances and political topics pertaining to our dogs and cats might not receive much media attention, nor have the capability to swing the election, yet our animals mean the world to many of us.
Don’t enter the voting booth to elect our nation’s next top dog come November without having sufficient knowledge of how pets factor into the candidates’ platforms and personal lives. Here are five pet-related facts about the 2016 presidential candidates:
1. Hillary Clinton wrote a book about her family’s presidential pets while serving as First Lady.
The Clinton’s Labrador, Buddy, and cat, Socks, proved to be popular pets of the White House during Bill Clinton’s presidency. In fact, Hillary Clinton is said to have been accompanied by Sock for various First Lady events, such as visiting children in hospitals. She even published a book entitled Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets, which includes more than 50 letters children wrote to these famous presidential pets. Nowadays, Hillary and Bill Clinton are reported to have three dog — a Labrador named Seamus, a poodle named Talley, and a mutt named Maisie.
2. Ted Cruz’s family enjoys the company of a rescue dog.
If you’re a strong believer in the “adopt, don’t shop” philosophy to obtaining furry family members, then Cruz may be your presidential candidate of choice. The U.S. senator from Texas and his wife reportedly adopted a rescue dog named Snowflake for their two young daughters in late 2014.
3. John Kasich has fought to support puppy welfare.
Who doesn’t like a candidate who aids puppies? With a puppy by his side, Kasich signed a state bill in early 2013 designed to crack down on puppy mills and create heightened standards for large-scale dog breeders within Ohio. While it’s been reported that Kasich has previously served as a dog owner, the governor of Ohio doesn’t currently have any pets.
4. Bernie Sanders has advocated for animal welfare.
Sanders’ voting history suggests a strong trend of fighting for animal welfare and humane treatment of animals. His platform states that, “No animal should be subjected to inhumane commercial breeding habits nor should they be contained within neglected and inadequate shelter.” It also states that all animals should be protected from cruelty. Despite not currently having a pet, the U.S. senator from Vermont earned a rating of 100 percent from the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF).
5. Donald Trump Promotes the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
Although there’s no evidence that Trump currently owns a pet, that doesn’t mean the billionaire businessman and Republican presidential candidate doesn’t have an interest in “man’s best friend.” Trump is said to support the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which takes place in his hometown of New York City. He’s even featured photos of “Best in Show” winners from Westminster on his social media pages.