Pets Steal the Spotlight in These Official Portraits

Leland Melvin snuck his pup onto the NASA compound so that he can have them in his official photo. (Photo: Leland Melvin/Twitter)
Leland Melvin and his rescue dogs
Retired astronaut Leland Melvin poses for his official NASA portrait with his rescue dogs, Jake and Scout. (Photo: Leland Melvin/Twitter)

Leland Melvin

Earlier this year, the Rogue NASA Twitter account won the internet when it released a photo of retired astronaut Leland Melvin posing for his official NASA portrait with his rescue dogs, Jake and Scout. Melvin snuck the dogs into the photo shoot by blasting his music and keeping his windows rolled up so that the official NASA guards wouldn't hear or see the pups in the back of his van. (Dogs aren't allowed on the NASA compound.) The pups eventually settled down for the posed shot shown above, but we think this one is even better:

Queen Elizabeth II

Perhaps no world leader has been as closely linked to a signature animal as Queen Elizabeth II has been linked to her corgis. She fell in love with the breed as a young child and has owned corgis ever since her father brought one home in 1933. She named that first dog Dookie and on her 18th birthday, she was given another corgi she named Susan. Queen Elizabeth II was so enamored with Susan that the pup accompanied her on her honeymoon with Prince Phillip. The queen has owned more than 30 corgis during her reign, most of whom are direct descendants of Susan.

The Queen Mother

Queen Mother with her corgis
The Queen Mother and her corgis in bronze statue on The Mall, by artist Paul Day. (Photo: SA 3.0/Wikipedia)

It's no wonder that Queen Elizabeth fell in love with corgis. Her mother, Queen Elizabeth I (also known affectionately as the Queen Mother,) was rather fond of the breed, too. So much so, in fact, that she has been immortalized with her dogs in a bronze frieze on The Mall near Buckingham Palace.

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama and Bo
Then first lady Michelle Obama and her Portuguese water dog, Bo. (Photo:

In 2011, then first lady Michelle Obama decided to do something different with her official White House portrait. She wanted to have something extra she could send to the thousands of kids who wrote to her every day, in addition to her response letter. Most of those kids asked questions about two things: the White House garden and Bo, the family dog. So Mrs. Obama posed with Bo in the White House garden so that she could send kids a visual of both.

"One of the reasons we did this picture is because we get so many letters from kids, mostly, who – they want to hear about the garden, they want to see it, and they also want to see Bo," Obama said in her remarks at a Let’s Move! roundtable at the White House. "Bo is really the most popular," she added.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Royal family with dog
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their son, Prince George, and their family pets. (Photo: Handout/Getty Images)

Prince William and Princess Kate, a.k.a. the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, don't have a lot of privacy in their lives. But one thing the royal couple did keep secret from the public was the name of their puppy. When asked, they would simply respond that it was a "private matter." Then one day when the princess was visiting Rose Hill Primary School in Oxford, a young boy doing art therapy handed her a toy puppy to cuddle. The Duchess responded, "Why don't we call it after my dog? He's called Lupo." In this shot, Princess Kate poses with Lupo (right) along with Prince William and their firstborn, Prince George, and the Middleton family dog, Tilly (left).

Norway's Princess Astrid

Princess Astrid and Pepita
Princess Astrid with her Japanese Chin, Pepita. (Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen/The Royal Court, Norway)

Norway's Princess Astrid is practically inseparable from her 7-year-old Japanese Chin, Pepita. She loves the pup so much that she decided to include her in her official portrait commemorating her 85th birthday. Interestingly, Princess Astrid is actually the great-granddaughter of the U.K.'s Queen Victoria, making her a second cousin to Queen Elizabeth II and eligible in a long line of succession to the British throne.

Pippa Middleton

Pippa Middleton, sister to Princess Kate, recently posed for her first official portrait and not surprisingly, she decided to include the family pup, Zulu, in the painting. Middleton and Zulu posed for the portrait at the Middleton family home in Bucklebury, Berkshire. Thrust into the spotlight thanks to her sister, Middleton nevertheless still manages to come off looking poised and relaxed in this portrait. No doubt, she took advantage of those puppy snuggles to help her stay chill.

President Herbert Hoover

President Herbert Hoover and his dog, King Tut
President Herbert Hoover and his dog, King Tut. (Photo: George Bush White House Archives)

When Herbert Hoover ran for the presidency in 1928, he had plenty of experience for the job but his public image was not appealing to the masses. Hoover was seen as stiff and harsh, so his campaign manager came up with the idea of having Hoover pose for an official portrait alongside his pup, a Belgian shepherd named King Tut. The public liked the image so much that The New York Times called it "one of the happiest pictures ever made" of Hoover. As you might have guessed, the picture worked, and Hoover was elected in a landslide.

Mail carrier, Clara Page Ferrell

Clara Page Ferrell
Florida mail carrier Clara Page Ferrell and her dog, circa 1917. (Photo: State Archives of Florida)

Mail carrier Clara Page Ferrell was born on March 7, 1887, the daughter of Benjamin Franklin (no, not that Benjamin Franklin) and Nancy McDaniel Page. Not much is known about her aside from the fact that she was a mail carrier in Leon County, Florida. Her official photo, which includes this happy-go-lucky puppy, is part of a series of historic photographs cataloged by the State Library and Archives of Florida.

Indiana Conservation Officer Levi Knach

It's not unusual for Indiana Conservation Officer Levi Knach to pose for an official portrait with his dog. After all, his pup Kenobi is actually his K-9 partner. According to a rep from Indiana State Parks, Kenobi is a working officer who can track people and locate anything from deer to ginseng. But what's unusual is that when the pair sat down for their shot, the photographer happened to capture a rare moment of love and kisses between the officers. Their official portrait, here, shows the pair's serious side.