April 13, 2009
MONTREAL(RPRN)04/13/09 - After a very long and very impatient wait (not only on the first children’s part, on ours too), the First puppy has finally been welcomed into the White House. The name of the long awaited first pet? The Obama girls have named him Bo. Apparently, the girls have a cousin with a cat named Bo, and first lady Michelle Obama’s father was known by the nickname of “Diddley”. Bo Diddley - the artist - was known as “The Originator” for being the first to break down cultural and color barriers by bringing African American blues to rock and roll, and global acceptance. So, given the parallels, it all seems very fitting.
The news of the Portuguese water dog’s arrival leaked onto the internet yesterday despite a previously, um, water tight vetting operation between the white house and Senator Ted Kennedy’s office (the six-month old pup is a gift from the senator and his wife, Victoria, to the First girls, Sasha and Malia). Reports first surfaced on a mysterious website called http://firstdogcharlie.com; this despite White House efforts to delay the news until a big debut planned for Bo on Tuesday afternoon, and a promised puppy exclusive to the Washington Post.
According to a source for the Washington post, Bo is beautifully well behaved and a real charmer, despite his slightly rakish appearance. During a previous introductory session with the first family – known around the White House as “The Meeting” – he passed muster by sitting or standing along with the Obama girls, making no toileting blunders or marks on furniture, and instinctively knowing who’s Number One – following behind President Obama as he crossed the room during the visit.
“He's sooooo cute,” the Post’s source said, apparently referring to the puppy as well. “It's very exciting. They had a great meeting.”
Exciting indeed: Bo is the Obama family’s first pet (no doubt owing to Malia’s allergies - Bo is hypo-allergenic), and neither of the first parents had dogs growing up. Younger girl Sasha was reportedly very excited, while the more sober Malia focused on all the “responsibility issues” involved in caring for the puppy, according to the source.
Other than the failed attempt to keep the First puppy’s arrival under wraps until his intended debut on Tuesday, Bo’s origins also diverge from plans the Obamas have had to adopt a rescue dog.
Faced with the fact that carefully bred non-allergenic dogs like Portuguese water dogs rarely end up in shelters, the Obamas have pledged to support abandoned pets in another way - they will be making a donation to D.C.’s Humane Society - so both girls with allergies and homeless dogs can benefit from this adoption.
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