The Roosevelt family is well known for its pets, particularly those that they owned while at the White House although some of the interesting pets came before that time. One reason for this notoriety is the family's willingness to accept animals that are generally wild, such as the possum for which Roosevelt thanks General Johnson in this passage.
"The possum arrived all right and Archie received it with such loving admiration that I gave it to him, a little to the jealousy of Ted and Kermit. In spite of your assurance that it is tame, Archie does not venture to pet it, and its only intimate acquaintance with him is when I take it up by the nape of the neck, and on such occasions it always opens its jaws like an alligator. Archie still regards it with unqualified respect. It has utterly unsettled the nerves of the terrier who sits in front of its cage for hours, showing the most eager, but I fear unfriendly desire, to get in."
Detail, Letter from Theodore Roosevelt to Bradley T. Johnson, November 21, 1899, MS Am 1454.50 (52), Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University. Electronic copy sponsored by the Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University. For reproduction or publication permission, contact the Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Houghton Library.