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Abe Lincoln’s Love of Dogs Book Review and Giveaway

abe and fido

I am not much of a Presidential history buff, but I am very interested in the role dogs played in the lives of important people throughout history. It was with great joy, then, that I was made aware of a new book by Matthew Algeo, Abe & Fido: Lincoln’s Love of Animals. Indeed Abe Lincoln had a passion for pets.

Since “Fido” is part of our blog namesake, this book, its pages rich in history and a few literal and figurative dog ears, made for a perfect weekend read. This is the type of book that is historic but not mundane and a definite page turner.

Here are our top seven”did you know” moments from the book (we won’t reveal all of them, as you should discover this well written and researched tale).

* Though most settlers of the American frontier viewed animals as what they could provide for humans, Lincoln showed empathy and consideration for animals, many of whom he would borrow from neighbors because he could not afford his own. During one of his school days, the President was assigned to write an essay and chose the topic of animal cruelty. Considering the time in which he lived, Lincoln’s love and compassion for animals was a minority view.

* Lincoln’s first pet was a dog named Honey, whom he acquired as a young boy of six or seven years of age. Algeo writes that Lincoln found the dog with a broken leg and nursed him back to health but it’s also possible his parents gifted Abe with the dog for the loss of his pet pig. One day the dog began barking at a drunkard in the streets, which infuriated the man into kicking the dog repeatedly. Lincoln screamed and cried, and the dog was able to be saved. Lincoln nursed Honey back to health.

* Lincoln adopted a mutt named Fido in 1855. According to one biographer, the mutt likely offered comfort to Honest Abe, who was suffering a midlife crisis at the time.

* Female dogs in heat in the 1850’s were often locked in basements, as spaying and neutering did not become routine until the 1960’s. For the pet bloggers reading this, consider that is a mere 55 years ago: We have come a long way but have a long way to go. This is an aspect of the book I enjoyed immensely: the history of the dog as a species, from whence dog food came, and a look at how dogs were very mistreated not so long ago.

* When Lincoln became President, he was unable to take the dog with him, but after careful investigation, he selected the Roll family to care for the dog. Lincoln’s barber in Springfield wrote to the President to apprise him of the dog from time to time.

* When Lincoln’s body was returned to Springfield, Illinois for burial after his murder, Fido the dog greeted mourners at the Lincoln home. A year later, in a sad ironic fate, Fido was murdered at the hands of a drunkard.

* Lincoln lavished his dog and allowed him inside the house and fed him dinner scraps, showing an indulgent side as many do today in 2015.

There are a few photographs that remain of Fido, and here is a snapshot of what the author includes in this book:

Abe Lincoln dog

This book is one of the most collective accounts of the relationship of Abraham Lincoln and animals, particularly his beloved dog, Fido.

“Much about Abraham Lincoln’s life is shrouded in myth, mystery, and controversy —   even his pet dog, “Algeo writes. “I merely wanted to tell the story of an ordinary dog and his extraordinary master living through turbulent times.”

And so he does. Long live Fido, and thanks for being honest and true to animals, Abe.


Brittany Phillips

Victoria Carter

Want to own a copy of this treasured book? Fidose of Reality has teamed with Chicago Review Press to give away two copies of Abe & Fido. Simply enter by using the Rafflecopter form below. If you simply can’t wait and want to get your paws on a copy of the book right away, Abe & Fido is available at and other fine book dealers. U.S. only with complete rules here.  (note: We were not compensated to review this book and we did receive a complimentary copy of the book from Chicago Review Press for review).


a Rafflecopter giveaway

A dog lover of the highest order is how Gayle King introduced Carol Bryant, when she appeared with her Cocker Spaniel on Oprah Radio’s Gayle King show to dish dogs. Carol created and owns the trademark, My Heart Beats Dog® and lives that mantra. A 30-year veteran of the dog world, she is President of the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) and the 2020 DWAA winner for Best Dog Blog.


  1. Jen Gabbard says

    Aw that’s so interesting about Fido; I’ve heard of all the troubles Lincoln had in his life – and that he might have been suffering from depression. I bet Fido was definitely a stress reliever for him.

  2. Christine & Riley says

    This sounds like a great read!!!
    My first dog came into my life at the age of 2 and remained with me until I was 12. A beautiful german shepherd named King, he was my hero and companion… I will never forget him.

  3. Cathy Armato says

    This sounds like an incredible book! I knew there was something even more extra special about our 16th president! It’s amazing that he would address animal cruelty as an issue at all back in the 1800’s. What an incredible man he was. My first dog was Ginny, a Golden mix. My brother in law used to joke that Ginny “was a legend” and I’ll tell you, she really was! Thanks so much for sharing this book with us Carol!

  4. Scott says

    I just got done reading a great biography of Lincoln and don’t recall them even mentioning a dog. It was more about his political life and less about his home life, so I guess that’s why.

  5. Jennifer says

    You’ve peaked my interest making me want to go out and get this book about Abe Lincoln and his passion for pets. I look forward to reading it.

  6. Christine Aiello says

    Coco is my first dog! She’s the best thing to ever happen to me! I love reading books about dogs so this will be great to read!

  7. Robin says

    Abraham Lincoln was really pawsome! He loved kitties too. I think he was just an all around animal lover. The more I learn about him, the greater of a president it seems he was. He was passionate about a lot of great topics.

  8. Ellen C says

    I love history, and I especially love to read about the human side of historical figures! Thanks for sharing, this sounds like a really good read.

  9. Linda Szymoniak says

    We had a dog when I was very young, but the first dog I have any memories of is the Beagle I had growing up – Pixie. I suspect my love of hounds came from her – even my love of the animated Beagle, Snoopy, came second to Pixie. I’ve had hounds and hound mixes ever since. I was thrilled when I first discovered that Lincoln was an animal lover, too, since he’s my favorite President, too.

  10. Val says

    Two great quotes from Mr. Lincoln
    “I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.”
    and one of my very favorites
    “I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.”
    ― Abraham Lincoln
    and I would add animals and all beings of the earth since we are the appointed caretakers (not ruthless rulers and abusers)

  11. MyDogLikes says

    I’ve been wanting to read this! My first dog was Abby. Such a sweetheart. Still miss her but she played such an important role in shaping my love of dogs for my adult life!

  12. WendysHat says

    I’m not into reading about animals but I am interested in history and presidents so this does sound good to me. Thanks for the information about this book.

  13. sandy weinstein says

    we had a black and white boston terrier, who was the same age as me. he had the run of the house.
    Blackie love the dog catcher. my mother would have to go to court 1-2 times a wk. the judge knew her by name. he would ask her “and how do you plead to day, mrs. weinstein?” “guilty your honor”. however, in
    Blackie’s defense, the dog catcher would sit at our house and try to lure him off the yard with treats, so it was not all his fault.

  14. Sue says

    I have a postcard from the Chicago Historical Society of Fido. But I had no idea of the story and history behind their relationship. I wish Fido had been able to travel to Washington DC. Times were different.

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