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Bo–The First Dog

Guest post by Kate Kelly of AmericaComesAlive!

Few dog lovers will forget the words spoken on Election Night by President-Elect Barack Obama: “Sasha and Malia, I love you both more than you can imagine. You have earned the puppy that is coming with us.”

Bo on the White House lawn.

Throughout the campaign of 2008, Obama had indicated that win or lose, the one thing he could guarantee was that his girls would get a puppy after the election.

Malia’s allergies placed priority on getting a hypoallergenic breed. This led them to Portuguese water dogs. (Doctors dispute the reality of “hypoallergenic” breeds like the Portuguese water dog, which has hair–not fur–and doesn’t shed; so the likelihood of stirring up allergies is reduced.)

Bo was a gift from the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Kennedy arranged for his obedience trainer to work with Bo to assure that he would be welcome at the White House.

Bo officially arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on April 14, 2009. His tuxedo coloring—black coat, white chest, and white front paws—made him an instant favorite with photographers, and the family clearly was thrilled with the energetic pup.

Bo’s full name is Amigo’s New Hope, but Malia and Sasha decided to call him Bo. Their cousins have a cat named Bo, and Michelle Obama’s father was nicknamed Diddley (as in Bo Diddley).

While Bo’s family encourages him to keep a low profile, he is occasionally seen by visitors to the White House. When Michelle Obama meets with schoolchildren, she is frequently asked about Bo, and from her descriptions, Bo sounds like a very normal and much loved family member.

Kate Kelly writes the blog America Comes Alive! For the month of July, Kate will feature a dog-a-day post in celebration of the “Dog Days of Summer.” If you would like to receive Kate’s posts, visit America Comes Alive.

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