Monday, January 21, 2013

Bo-Bama: The First Dog

It's Inauguration Day, and everyone is certainly familiar with President Obama's family, but do you know about Bo?

Official White House Portrait of Bo
Bo is the Obama family's Portuguese Water Dog (one of the breeds previously speculated to be in Apple's DNA). He is 4 years old and was born on October 9, 2008. My husband, Steven, likes to do impressions and voices, and he always impersonates Obama by saying, "My daughters are going to get the puppy they have been asking for," because as a condition of running for President in 2008, he promised Sasha and Malia that they could have a puppy, whether he win or lose.

Bo's arrival at the White House
Bo came to the White House as a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy, and is a purebred from a breeder, despite Obama saying he would like to get a shelter dog. The reason they chose a purebred is because Malia has allergies and fluffy dogs such as "Porties" and Poodle mixes (such as Labradoodles) are the most hypoallergenic of all dog breeds because they do not secrete much dander and shed very little.

Biden also has a hypoallergenic dog, a Labradoodle named Brother!

Something that I found particularly interesting when reading Bo's story, (albeit the Wikepedia version) was that he was bred by a Stern family (my husband's last name!) and that he was originally purchased, and soon after returned, by a different family. Well, Bo sure lucked out, he got to go from a family who didn't have the commitment to take care of a puppy to going to the White House, where I am sure he is very spoiled. (However, he has been trained by the dog trainer to the Kennedy family.)

Although a dog might seem relatively unimportant in the context of Presidential elections, there have been times where they have been used to garner support for or even smear a candidate. In 1952, Nixon gave a very famous speech known as the "Checkers Speech" where he addressed accusations of accepting illegal gifts, one of which was a black and white Cocker Spaniel named Checkers. Today, I think more people remember that Nixon talked about his dog rather than illegal gifts.

In this most recent election, dogs were also seen as important. Mitt Romney was slammed for traveling on long road trips with his Irish Setter, Seamus, riding in a crate strapped to the roof of the car. An online store, Dogs Against Romney, was formed in response to this story. Bo, on the other hand, was used to garner support for Obama, by depicting him as an animal lover. However, Obama had his own dog related scandal after he mentioned eating dog meat in Dreams From My Father, resulting in a "War on Dogs" joke about the two candidates. 

Whatever your political persuasion, the main point of this post is that Bo is CUTE! I might be a little biased though....

That's Apple on the left, and Bo on the right (should Bo be on the left?)
Turns out, I own a stuffed version of Bo-Bama and I didn't even know it! Here he is:

He is a TY Big Beanie and came with the name "Bo"
Happy In-DOG-uration!

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