When you say “Richard Nixon,” most people instantly think, “Watergate” or “I am not a crook.” Not everyone seems to remember Checkers — one of the most important pups in U.S. political history. In 1952, when Nixon was running for Vice President alongside Dwight Eisenhower, he was accused of abusing a political fund and accepting inappropriate gifts. In a televised address that went down in history as the “Checkers speech,” Nixon denied all these charges — except one. He had indeed received Checkers as a gift, he said, but had no intention of giving him away. The speech (and Nixon’s love for his Cocker Spaniel) was considered a major turning point, as it significantly boosted public opinion and arguably salvaged Nixon’s career. But alas, despite his pivotal role in American politics, Checkers never became First Dog, as he died four years before Nixon was sworn in as president.