President Thomas Jefferson received an unusual pet present after he sent an expedition out west to explore the recent land purchase from France. Perhaps he should have been more specific when he asked the explorers to send back specimens as they sent back more than grass and seeds. Captain Zebulon Pike sent two grizzly bear cubs. Jefferson was shocked when they arrived. They quickly outgrew their cages and roamed the White House lawn with Jefferson's beloved peacocks, partridges, and mockingbirds. Jefferson’s favorite pet, however, would always be his mockingbird, Dick. Jefferson’s good friend Margaret Bayard Smith described how the bird would land on Jefferson’s table and “regale him with its sweetest notes, or perch on his shoulder and take its food from his lips. Often when he retired to his chamber it would hop up the stairs after him.”
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