Take a last look at those dark, wet eyes and that fluffy, charcoal coat. Lucky Reagan—the French sheepdog that scampered around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the past 10 months—won’t be seen wagging around with the First Family for much longer. No more will she knock over wastebaskets or leave her master’s knotted socks on the White House floor.
Lucky, who will probably be banished to the Reagans’ Santa Barbara ranch sometime after Thanksgiving, just plain outgrew her post as First Fido. When March of Dimes poster child Kristen Ellis gave Lucky to the Reagans last December, the 9-week-old pup was tiny. But the pooch now stands more than two feet tall and weighs about 80 pounds. “She’s like a little pony,” says the First Lady’s press secretary, Elaine Crispin. Nancy has a hard time maintaining her unruffled image at the end of frisky Lucky’s leash. “At times it looks like Mrs. Reagan is waterskiing or skateboarding behind the dog,” says a staffer. “There is a real fear she is going to fall down.”
The Reagans aren’t the first White House occupants to undergo trials with man’s best friend. Before his Scottish terrier, Fala, became a constant companion, FDR canned two canines—one for biting a Senator in the leg, the other for biting a reporter on the nose. LBJ’s reputation was more permanently tarnished by his dogs. A photo showed him lifting one of his beagles, Him, by his ears, and disapproving dog lovers barked in dismay. Despite allergies to fur, Kennedy lived with several dogs, including a mongrel named Pushinka that Khrushchev sent as a gift. King Timahoe, Nixon’s Irish setter, sometimes had to be coaxed into showing affection for his master. Ford’s golden retriever, Liberty, brazenly gave birth to nine puppies in the White House. Carter had to evict Grits, a black-and-white mutt that couldn’t be housebroken.
Even after five weeks of obedience training, Lucky is still too exuberant for the Reagan White House. So the First Lady, who thinks dogs need wide open spaces to run in, keeps telling Lucky how much she’s going to like it with the four other dogs at the Reagan ranch. Mrs. Reagan’s staff may need some convincing, too. “Lucky is going to be missed,” says one White House insider. “She has more grace and humor than a lot of people around here.” Doggone it.