If there was ever a man who was unchanged by the power of the Presidency, it was Gerald Ford. Thrust unexpectedly into the Oval Office upon the resignation of Richard Nixon, Ford always seemed to be just a regular guy. Nothing illustrated this better than his relationship with his dog.
Shortly after moving into the White House, the President was awakened at 3:00 a.m. It wasn’t an ominous call on the Hot Line; it was his dog, Liberty, licking his face to let him know that she needed to go outside. The President, who famously said that no one should have to clean up after another man’s dog (see this article about that humorous situation), thought nothing of getting up and taking care of Liberty, himself. He put on his robe and slippers, and POTUS and the First Pooch went out to the south lawn of the White House.
When Liberty finished her business, the President tried to return to bed, but he found that even though he was the most powerful man in the world, he didn’t have access to his own home. Somehow he managed to leave the residence without the knowledge of the Secret Service, and when he closed the door behind him, it locked.
Gerald Ford had the keys to the United States’ nuclear arsenal, but he did not have a key to the White House. After trying several doors, without success, he managed to catch the attention of the Secret Service, who were shocked to find the pajama-clad President of the United States and his dog, wandering around, trying to get back to bed.