Originally posted Sunday April 12, 2009
Forget about hunting for Easter eggs. The president's daughters have a much better treat in store this holiday weekend: a new dog! After months of anticipation, a 6-month-old Portuguese Water Dog named Bo is now calling the White House home.
First, the name. According to the Washington Post, which published confirmation of the White House dog news Sunday, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, chose the name because their cousins have a cat named Bo and because Mrs. Obama's father was nicknamed Diddley, as in Bo Diddley. The dog is a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy, who owns three dogs of the same breed, known for high spirits and said to be a good fit for kids with allergies (such as Malia). Kennedy had been lobbying the Obamas to get a Portuguese Water Dog (or PWD) for months.
Top Secret Meeting
The newspaper reports that the Obama girls are delighted – they've been waiting anxiously since their dad promised them a dog during his presidential campaign – and that the family, first-time dog owners, are still deciding where Bo will sleep and who will walk and feed him. Under a veil of secrecy, the Post reports, Bo actually made a trip to the White House earlier to meet the family. "The Meeting," as it was called by staffers, was a success.
But the highly-orchestrated canine delivery procedure didn't go without a few hitches. First, news began to circulate that a Portuguese Water Dog by the name of Charlie had been selected for the First Family after a Web site called firstdogcharlie.com posted the information, and a photo, Saturday. The White House called the photo "bogus" and told news organizations (including PEOPLE) that the First Dog would make its debut Tuesday – although Bo, it is now apparent, was already at the White House over the weekend.
Dogged by Questions
Then there are the questions about the dog's origins that are sure to bedevil the Administration. The Obamas originally discussed rescuing a dog from a shelter. But valuable and highly-bred PWDs rarely show up at shelters. Bo is said to have lived with a family that decided not to keep him, but that won't likely satisfy animal rescue advocates who wanted the Obamas to take in a stray. To help ease disappointment, according to the Washington Post, the family will make a donation to the District of Columbia Humane Society.