Before there was Socks the cat or Bo Obama, there was Fala, a lovable Scottish terrier that followed President Roosevelt everywhere he went, even on trips abroad. Fala was also very popular with the American people. He actually had a private secretary appointed to handle his correspondence and busy social calendar. Like FDR, Fala remained popular in death. A bronze likeness of him stands proudly alongside Roosevelt at the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C., where thousands of visitors pay their respects each year.
9: Ugly Bat Boy, Stratham, N.H.
It may seem a bit cruel - a tourist attraction that centers on a creature's profound ugliness - but this pet-centric tourist attraction may actually help raise awareness for the plight of follicle-challenged felines everywhere. Ugly Bat Boy is an 8-year-old cat with the misfortune of being mostly hairless except for an unruly tuft on his chest. He was abandoned by his owner for being too homely and now lives at a veterinary hospital in New Hampshire, where he is loved for his inner beauty. He is also a bit of a celebrity, with tourists stopping by regularly to meet and take pictures with the now-famous Ugly Bat Boy.
8: Dog & Horse Fine Art & Portraiture Gallery, Charleston, S.C.
The Dog & Horse Fine Art & Portraiture Gallery in Charleston, S.C., is a must-see attraction for anyone with a penchant for art or a love of animals. With an inventory that includes hundred of pieces from the leading names in canine and equine art, this gallery has become the center of the pet-art community. Located in Charleston's historic French Quarter, it is a top destination for pet-centric travelers.
7: Pet Shenanigans, Williamsburg, Va.
For pet lovers, nothing beats a theatrical performance starring cats and dogs. Pet Shenanigans in Busch Gardens Williamsburg offers spectacular acrobatics, suspenseful drama and loads of laughter, all driven by encouragement-based training and plenty of love. With cameo appearances by rats and several farm animals, you'll never encounter a more unlikely cast of characters.
6: Grave of Checkers, Long Island, NY
Of all the pets to have made their home in the White House, Checkers is perhaps the most well-known. Already more popular than his master, President Richard Nixon, Checkers became the most powerful figure in Washington in September 1952, when he was mentioned during a speech Nixon, then a U.S. senator and the Republican vice presidential nominee, gave defending his integrity amid allegations of financial corruption. "Checkers may have been an unlawful gift," Nixon explained, "but he is a gift we intend to keep." The nation fell in love with the dog and Nixon's negative press all but disappeared, making Checkers the first and only dog to be credited with saving the political career of a future U.S. president. His grave, located in Long Island's Bideawee Pet Cemetery, is a popular tourist attraction for pet-loving Americans of all political ideologies.
5: Hoegh Pet Cemetery, Gladstone, Mich.
Of all the wonderfully weird roadside attractions in Michigan, this one stands out as one of the most bizarre. The Hoegh Pet Cemetery in Gladstone, Mich., offers factory tours where visitors can learn the history of pet burial and see all the steps required for making a pet casket. You can also take a tour of the pet cemetery and attend a mock pet funeral, complete with eulogy, floral arrangements and images of teary-eyed loved ones. It's fun for the whole family!
4: Presidential Pet Museum, Annapolis, Md.
How does Barney Bush look in bronze? Who was the last cow to graze on the White House lawn? These are just some of the first pets featured at the Presidential Pet Museum, located in the historic district of Annapolis, Md. This homage to animal history includes numerous photographs of first families and their pets as well as little known facts about the animals that have called the White House home.
3: Dog Collar Museum, Kent, England
Ever wonder what a medieval dog collar might look like? Find out at the Dog Collar Museum at Leeds Castle in Kent, England. Built in the 12th century, this beautiful building was passed to the British royal family in the year 1278. In 1979, the Dog Collar Museum was established there with a stunning collection of more than 100 collars as well as various related exhibits that span five centuries and include examples of 21st-century canine couture.
2: American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog, St. Louis, Mo.
With more than 700 paintings, sculptures and figurines set in a 14,000-square-foot facility, the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog in St. Louis, Mo., is an impressive collection of canine art. The museum features well-known works such as Francois Bernard's The Bumblebee and James Ward's Salukis as well as special collections and exhibits such as dogs of war, dogs on matchbooks and bar hounds. Officially founded in 1985, the goal of the AKC Museum of the Dog is to enhance the appreciation for and knowledge of the dog/human relationship.
1: Popovich Comedy Pet Theater, Las Vegas, Nev.
Ever see a dog jumping rope or a cat shimmying upside down across a high wire? You can see these stunts and more at the Popovich Comedy Pet Theater at Planet Hollywood Casino Resort on the Las Vegas Strip. This world-famous show features juggling, dancing, drama, balancing acts and plenty of laughs. It stars a well-oiled team of former stray cats and dogs that were adopted from an animal shelter by show founder Gregory Popovich, an internationally acclaimed juggler who trained with the Moscow Circus.