Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919). Theodore Roosevelt’s Letters to His Children. 1919.

Pets on Shipboard

In November, 1906, the President, accompanied by Mrs. Roosevelt, went to the Isthmus of Panama, where he spent three days in inspecting the work of building the Panama Canal, returning by way of Porto Rico. The journey was taken on the naval vessel Louisiana, and many of his letters to the children were written while on board that vessel and mailed after reaching Colon.

On Board U. S. S. Louisiana,
On the Way to Panama. 
Sunday, November 11, 1906.

You would be amused at the pets they have aboard this ship. They have two young bull-dogs, a cat, three little raccoons, and a tiny Cuban goat. They seem to be very amicable with one another, although I think the cat has suspicions of all the rest. The coons clamber about everywhere, and the other afternoon while I was sitting reading, I suddenly felt my finger seized in a pair of soft black paws and found the coon sniffing at it, making me feel a little uncomfortable lest it might think the finger something good to eat. The two puppies play endlessly. One of them belongs to Lieutenant Evans. The crew will not be allowed ashore at Panama or else I know they would pick up a whole raft of other pets there. The jackies seem especially fond of the little coons. A few minutes ago I saw one of the jackies strolling about with a coon perched upon his shoulder, and now and then he would reach up his hand and give it a small piece of bread to eat.