The List You Never Knew You Needed: Vile Men & Their Fuzzy Pets

Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
Bizarre fact: Hitler — yes Hitler — was a lover of dogs. It is widely known that he had an adored German shepherd named Blondi. According to a tome penned by Hitler's final secretary, he spoke at great lengths about his pup, like most doting dog owners you know. Needless to say, the love between demagogue and furry creature loomed large.

Meanwhile in 2016, president elect Donald Trump is considering getting a golden doodle named Patton. Do with that information what you will.

If that doesn't make much sense to you, you're not alone. But the truth is that even horrible people can love fluffy things. In fact, there are more than a few political leaders, dictators, and men of ill repute who adore animals. There have been dictators who've caressed their horses and much-hated imperialists who've cuddled little lion cubs. Perhaps dogs, cats, lions, horses are the great equalizers? Or maybe those in great power grow lonely and eventually seek out furry companions because dogs don't care about communism. (Or do they? It's a thought worth pondering.)
Ahead, find the tyrants who took on a pet — consider it an exercise in cognitive dissonance.
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Photo: Hulton Deutsch/Getty Images.
Hitler holds the leash of Blondi, his beloved German shepherd. Again, you are allowed to be confused. Eva Braun is on the left with her own leashed canine. If you'll recall, Hitler's secretary claimed that the "inner circle" was more upset about Blondi's death than Braun's.
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Photo: Nara Archives/REX/Shutterstock.
You may recognize the man to the far left. That is Mussolini himself, the Italian fascist Il Duce. While it is not clear that whether the Axis leader had a dog of his own, here he seems to be enjoying a pet lion cub.

The lion belongs to Hermann Göring, a military leader in — you guessed it — the Nazi party. Fuzzy animal. Shady fellow. Conflicted picture. (Cognitive dissonance.)
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Photo: ullstein bild/Getty Images.
Herein sits Albert Speer, Hitler's Minister of Armaments and War Production during World War II. But look at that sweet, droopy mouth!

(For the record, Speer was one of the few Nazis to admit guilt. He has been very candid in memoirs, according to his obituary in The New York Times.)
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Photo: William J. Smith/AP/REX/Shutterstock.
Meet Pushinka. Pushinka was a gift to JFK from Nikita Krushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. According to BBC, Pushinka's mother was the dog Strelka, who was sent into space. (Yes, that's a thing that happened.)

Thanking Krushchev for the dog, Kennedy wrote, "Mrs. Kennedy and I were pleased to receive Pushinka. Her flight from the Soviet Union to the United States was not as dramatic as the flight of her mother, nevertheless, she stood it well."

We should all be more like Pushinka. Nevertheless, we stand it well.
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Photo: Neil Rasmus/BFA/REX/Shutterstock.
The year 2016 brings you the dictator-dog hybrid. Meet Genghis Khan, the doggy companion to none other than Martha Stewart. According to Stewart's blog, he's a "conformation show dog and breed champion."

The fluffy chow chow is named after the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan, who was known to be fairly violent. Listen, you don't grow the largest contiguous empire by being polite. (That's a lie. I'm sure you could do it politely.)

But that's the thing. A violent name can land on a dog. It happens. (Enjoy the dissonance.)
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