The Obama’s male Portuguese Water Dog, Bo, has been colloquially referred to as the “First Dog,” and after six months of intense anticipation Bo is finally arrived, and now starting to get comfortable at the White House.
Bo’s arrival was not without a hefty degree of scrutiny and criticism, however. You see, Bo was a gift from the Kennedy family, and so is not technically adopted from an animal shelter. This has some animal rights activists upset because the Presidential dog represent more than just a family having a dog; that aside, the Obamas seemed to indicate that they would adopt from an a shelter, and then they did not.
Cesar Milan, esteemed dog expert, has argued on behalf of the Obama’s, citing Bo as a ‘rescue dog,’ or a dog that is on its second home. This quelled the cries of the critics somewhat. The Obamas have also made statements acknowledging the need for them to reconsider a second dog.
Bo was bred by Julie Parker of Erie County, Pennsylvania, and is one of the nine littermates of the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s Portie named Cappy (Amigo’s Captain Courageous.) In fact, the litter as a whole was named “Hope and Change” in honor of Obama’s victory.
Bo is quite the dog. Manuel Roig-Franzia, of the The Washington Post, was granted exclusive initial access to Bo for the print media. She described the puppy: “Bo’s a handsome little guy. Well suited for formal occasions at the White House, he’s got tuxedo-black fur, with a white chest, white paws and a rakish white goatee.”
Here are some things that you might not have known about Bo:
His first living arrangement didn’t work out — Bo was originally intended to keep the company of an older female, but instead he ended up giving her a headache by trying to nurse on her. Oops. Bo didn’t figure out that not every bigger dog is its mother.
He comes from a sturdy stock — Bo’s mother, Penny, is an especially “pushy,” alpha-type dog, even in the presence of the actual male alpha father. Bo’s grown up around some tough cookies.
He was a presidential dog in training for weeks — Presidential dogs do not go through a simple series of “sit” and “stay” lessons; they are put through secret, intense training, in this case by the same dog trainer that the Kennedy’s used.
He has a talented older brother — Bo learned from the best. Everything that he learned early in life he learned from his big brother.
Bo will grow up to be big and lanky— Bo’s breeder says that because Bo was neutered quite early as a puppy, he will likely grow up to be nice and tall. He should fit in with the Obamas then, with Barack measuring in at just over 6′, and Michelle in a close second at 5’11”.