• Inside the Lincoln Sitting Room

    Lincoln Home

    National Historic Site Illinois

Family Pets and Animals

The Lincolns were a family devoted to pets. Lincoln's law partner, William Herndon, noted that if the Lincoln children "wanted a dog--cat...it was all right and well treated--housed--petted--fed--fondled, etc., etc." The boys shared their love of animals with their father.

Lincoln loved his horses, such as "Old Bob," who took him on the long, lonely journeys across the prairie when he was traveling to the circuit courts. ("Old Bob" survived to 1865 and was included in Lincoln's funeral procession in Springfield, Illinois.)

Lincoln also showed affection for dogs and cats. In the 1850s, the Lincolns kept a dog, named Fido, and Mrs. Lincoln once, in a letter to her husband, referred to cats as "your hobby." William Herndon commented on the importance of pets and animals to Lincoln: "If exhausted from severe and long-continued thought, he had to touch the earth again to renew his strength. When this weariness set in he would stop thought, and get down with a little dog or kitten to recover; and when the recovery came he would push it aside to play with its own tail."

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