April 13, 2009

The First family and Bo, the new First Dog, run on the South Lawn of the White House, April 14, 2009. (Ron Edmonds/Courtesy The Associated Press)

The First Dog Debuts

After months of dogged reporting about what kind of puppy the new first family would bring to Washington, the, uh, cat is out of the bag.

Bo, a Portuguese water dog, was unveiled April 11 by a hastily assembled Web site called FirstDogCharlie.com. The site posted the first known photograph of the black-and-white, curly-haired cutie, scooping The Washington Post, which apparently had been promised a doggy exclusive.

The Web site claimed the 6-month-old puppy’s original name was Charlie. Renamed Bo by the Obamas, the puppy did not come from a shelter, as many Newseum visitors had hoped. The pet was a gift from Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, an Obama backer and Portuguese water dog owner.

Of the more than 37,000 votes cast in the Newseum’s five-month presidential pooch poll, more than half said the Obamas should get a shelter dog. Kennedy reportedly rescued Bo from a home where he had been a bad fit. According to The Post, the first family also is making a donation to the local humane society.

Bo will join dozens of past presidential pooches in the Newseum’s exhibit "First Dogs: American Presidents and Their Pets." The show — supported by a gift to the Newseum from PEDIGREE®, a brand of Mars, Inc. — features intimate photographs of presidents and their furry friends and is scheduled to end May 15, 2009.

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