'First dog' Bo got star treatment at the White House yesterday — and even presidential clearance to visit the Oval Office. He had better not, however, get any inflated ideas about doggy sleeping arrangements.
"Not in my bed," declared President Barack Obama.
The nation got its long-awaited first look at Bo in action as the Obamas showed off the family's new dog on the South Lawn. First lady Michelle Obama did most of the walking while the six-month-old Portuguese water dog scampered about. Then daughter Malia, 10, took a turn, and Bo took off running.
The girls grinned as they played with Bo. Sasha clapped her hands at one point, calling for the dog's attention.
Plainly pleased, the president said, "He's a star. He's got star quality."
Obama had promised his daughters, 10-year-old Malia and seven-year-old Sasha, a puppy during the presidential campaign. The dog finally arrived yesterday.
Despite the name of the dog's breed, daughter Sasha pointed out to reporters, "He doesn't know how to swim."
"Yeah, apparently they have to be taught how to swim," Obama added.
The girls grinned as they played with Bo. The wet lawn, chilly air and gray sky did not put a damper on Bo's debut.
Sasha clapped her hands at one point, calling for the dog's attention. Bo wagged his tail as each of the Obamas bent down to pet him.
The commander in chief laid down some guidelines.
Each family member is going to have to help out, Obama said. "We all have to take turns walking the dog."
Asked by a reporter where the dog would sleep, the president said Bo would have his own spot. A bed? "Not in my bed," Obama said.
The president had a word of warning for the first lady. He said he had heard the breed likes tomatoes, so "Michelle's garden is in danger."
The White House will be the puppy's fourth home. He was born in Texas, then moved to his first owner's home in Washington DC, then spent nearly a month with Senator Edward Kennedy's dog trainer in Virginia and now is moving to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Bo was given up by his first owner because things weren't working out with the family's other dog. Kennedy and his wife, Victoria, who had two Portuguese water dogs from Bo's breeder and acquired a third from Bo's litter, thought Bo would be perfect for the Obamas and gave the dog to Malia and Sasha as a gift, the dog's breeder and a spokeswoman for Michelle Obama said.
At six months, Bo still is a "goofy puppy" and, like many Portuguese water dogs may stay that way up to age two or even four, said Stu Freeman, president of the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America. "A puppy is a puppy, and these are very active puppies," he said.
The puppy is mostly black, but he has white fur on his chest and front feet. The dog's non-shedding coat also makes him a good pick for the family, given Malia's allergies.Reuse content