September 11, 2015 | Posted in 1st Doggies
Dwight D. (“Ike”) Eisenhower received what was considered an unusual and somewhat exotic gift while living in the White House – a grey and taupe colored dog called a Weimaraner. It was a German breed that was not yet popular in the United States. The dog was a gift from Postmaster General Summerfield and the 34th President of the United States was very pleased to receive the dog. He named her Heidi and affectionately referred to her as the “grey ghost”. Eisenhower thanked the Postmaster General and said Heidi was a wonderful addition to the White House. “She is beautiful and well-behaved,” he said. He also told the Postmaster that Heidi had such “important projects as chasing squirrels and investigating what might be under bushes.” Clearly, the President adored Heidi.
She spent her days with Eisenhower in his private office. Once, when he was away from his desk, Heidi found the button under his desk that he used to summon his secretary. Heidi pushed the button and the secretary rushed in, ready to answer to Eisenhower’s call, only to find that it was his dog who’d summoned her instead.
Mamie Eisenhower didn’t get along with Heidi as well as her husband did. The two had an uneasy relationship. Heidi was very protective of Ike and apparently jealous of Mamie’s attention to her husband, because every time Mamie was around Ike, Heidi would jump up on her. When she wasn’t in Ike’s office, Heidi loved to run around the gardens and the grounds of her new home, yet she was so active and roamed so much that for nearly a year, the press photographers were unaware that Eisenhower had a First Dog. Once they found out, photos of Heidi began to surface.
Unfortunately, Heidi became nervous with all the attention the press paid to her and she urinated in the White House. It was forgiven, until it happened again, on a $20,000 rug in the Diplomatic Reception Room. The President knew that Mamie would be unhappy and it was not something that he could tolerate much longer, so Heidi was transferred to the Eisenhower farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Her life was simpler there and she still spent time with the President when he visited and especially when he left office after his second term.