L.A. Unleashed

All things animal in Southern
California and beyond

Category: Bo the First Dog

Happy anniversary, First Dog Bo!


It's been a whirlwind year in the life of America's first dog.

It seems like only yesterday to us, but it's been a year since the Obamas brought Portuguese water dog Bo home last April 14. (We, along with a number of dog lovers worldwide, were excited that the first family had entered the wonderful world of dogs -- although we couldn't help wishing the Obamas had chosen to bring home a shelter dog. Not on the list of excited dog lovers, however, was former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who called the hubbub over the first dog "fairly stupid.")

Since then, Bo's been busy barking at Santa (perhaps an ill-advised move, since the Man in Red was presumably the person who filled his Christmas stocking), inspiring a dog parade in Martha's Vineyard, nearly tripping the president, biting people's feet and causing animal rights activists to fret over whether or not he was neutered. (Fret not: he was.)

Bo's even been re-created in marzipan and Beanie Baby form and been featured on his own baseball card. Despite being among the most famous pets on the planet, though, "it's too early to assess Bo's political legacy," according to USA Today's David Jackson, who notes that "he has lot to live up to." (Earlier presidential pets like FDR's Fala, Nixon's Checkers and even George W. Bush's Barney left big pawprints, says Jackson. But not nearly as big as those of Martin Van Buren's tiger cubs!)

-- Lindsay Barnett

Animal news on the go: Follow Unleashed on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo: Bo walks in the snow outside the White House Press Briefing Room on Feb. 9. Credit: Charles Dharapak / Associated Press

Not a fan of Santa: Bo Obama's barks upstage Michelle, Malia and Sasha at holiday event

Stealing the spotlight from First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha is no easy prospect -- unless you're arguably the world's most beloved Portuguese water dog, Bo. During a recent visit by the first family (minus President Obama, who, we imagine, had other business at hand) to the Children's National Medical Center, Bo -- who recently took time out of his busy schedule to enjoy a romp in the snow -- managed to grab everyone's attention by barking at Santa Claus. 

If that doesn't get you on the naughty list, we can't imagine what would. But the ever-poised first lady took the incident in stride, our colleagues at the Top of the Ticket blog explain, telling the children present that the first dog "hasn't seen Santa before." (In Bo's defense, a first encounter with the Man in Red is enough to upset some humans, as well.)

Although Bo's barks were certainly memorable, we have to award adorable points (and who knows adorable better than Unleashed?) to 8-year-old Sasha. During a question-and-answer session at the event, when asked how the Obamas' Christmas will be different this year from previous years, Sasha responded with impeccable comic timing, "Well, it will be easier to get on the plane than last year." The audience, predictably, erupted in laughter.

First dog Bo won't be left out this holiday season: He's got his own Christmas stocking
A new look for Bo Obama: Tiny, chocolate and made from marzipan

-- Lindsay Barnett

First dog Bo won't be left out this holiday season: He's got his own Christmas stocking


Bo, the White House dog, has his very own Christmas stocking.

First Lady Michelle Obama made the revelation in an interview with Oprah Winfrey for her "Christmas at the White House" special, scheduled to air Sunday night on ABC. Winfrey's company, Harpo Productions, released excerpts of the interview today.

Asked which members of the Obama family have a stocking, the first lady named President Obama, herself, daughters Malia and Sasha and said "of course" the family's Portuguese water dog has one too. This will be the first Christmas for the puppy, which the Obamas got in April.

She did not give any details about what might be going into Bo's stocking, but said Santa loves Bo.

Winfrey also asked the couple about their favorite childhood Christmas gifts.

Michelle Obama said her favorite was a metal dollhouse with plastic furniture that she wasn't sure what to do with.

Continue reading »

A new look for Bo Obama: Tiny, chocolate-covered and made from marzipan

Bo the first dog If you thought presidential dog walker was an oddly specific job title, how about presidential dog replica pastry chef?

OK, so executive pastry chef Bill Yosses' job consists of a little more than just crafting miniature Portuguese water dogs out of marzipan, complete with dollops of chocolate to mimic their signature curly, shed-free coats.  If you want to get technical, Yosses' duties also include replicating First Lady Michelle Obama's famous vegetable garden out of marzipan and covering a 56-inch-by-29-inch gingerbread White House with white chocolate. (How else would you make a gingerbread White House white?)

The world's most famous gingerbread house (well, probably) was shown off for the first time last week.  It'll be the showpiece for some 28 holiday-themed parties and open houses to be held by the First Family this month.  Reportedly, the 390-pound gingerbread-and-white-chocolate affair took Yosses and his staff six weeks to prepare. 

No word on whether marzipan Bo will be consumed after the holiday season comes to a close, but we do know that the original Bo certainly won't be eating his chocolate replica (he'd get sick). See a photo of the whole gingerbread house after the jump!

Continue reading »

The poop on White House dog Bo


He has torn through magazines and stray socks, even sunk his teeth into the president's gym shoes. Charm school taught him to sit, heel and shake a paw on command. He spent his first summer vacation on breezy Martha's Vineyard.

That's just a scoop of the poop on Bo's first few months as First Dog of the United States.

Most of his dog days begin with early morning walks on the grounds with Michelle Obama, and end with a nighttime jaunt with President Barack Obama, the couple juggling their four-legged family member in shifts the way the first lady says they once handled daughters Malia and Sasha.

In between, 10-month-old Bo has playtime with the girls, meals, puppy mischief — and lots of just lying around.

Obama says walks with the family's Portuguese Water Dog are a highlight of his pressure-packed days. It's perhaps a sign of just how high-stress they are that the president even gets sentimental about the less pleasant duties of dog ownership.

Continue reading »

Sen. Ted Kennedy is remembered as a dog lover and animal advocate

Kennedy with his dogs

Many around the country are mourning the death of "the lion of the Senate," Sen. Edward Kennedy.  In the man's 77 years, he spearheaded efforts to advance a number of liberal causes, but he was remembered today as a lawmaker willing to cross the aisle in order to further legislation he believed in.  One element of Kennedy's life that connected him with conservatives was his love of animals -- particularly his beloved Portuguese water dogs -- which, of course, have no party affiliation.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, wrote today that Kennedy was "a stalwart ally over the years on a wide range of legislation to protect companion animals, farm animals, animals in research and wildlife," adding that the senator from Massachusetts was instrumental in the passage of animal welfare legislation including laws that cracked down on dogfighting and cockfighting, protected horses and other farm animals, and sent chimpanzees once used in medical research to sanctuaries.

The Humane Society Legislative Fund, which issues an annual report on the voting records of the nation's lawmakers on animal protection issues, gave Kennedy a score of 83 in its most recent "scorecard," noting that he was absent during a vote on one of the issues it used to determine its scores.  (Among the issues at stake for the Legislative Fund were the Horse Slaughter Bill, the Downed Animal Enforcement Act and the Farm Bill, the latter being the issue on which Kennedy failed to vote.)

Continue reading »

Bo Obama is met with open arms, and a parade, at Martha's Vineyard


For most Americans, when the family takes a summer vacation, the pets pile into the family van -- even if it means the vacation is on 28 acres, and the van is Air Force One. And whereas most families are hustled off to go see Aunt Martha, the First Family is taking a load off at Martha's Vineyard.

While some people are howling that the Obamas are staying on a portion of the island where properties like their 28-acre spread go for $50k a week, dog lovers on Martha's Vineyard are so thrilled to have Bo sniffing around that they've created T-shirts (above) and organized the first-ever Martha's Vineyard Dog Parade.

Photos of Bo's trip and the local pups after the jump.

Continue reading »

Obamas' dog Bo celebrates his 'first 100 days'

Bo, the Obama family's Portuguese water dog

It's been a hectic few months, no doubt, for Bo, the Obama family's Portuguese water dog. Since word leaked about the first family's new puppy a few days before Bo was officially paraded around the White House lawn in his first public appearance, just about every aspect of Bo's life has been scrutinized.

PETA fretted about whether he would be neutered (turns out, by the time the Obamas brought him home, he already was).  People Magazine pointed out that it looked like First Lady Michelle Obama was doing more than her fair share of the work of caring for Bo, despite the fact that the president told reporters in December, "I want to make sure my daughters take care of this dog, and if they do their business, and you've got some poop, you don't just leave it there."  All this attention on the first dog prompted former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to call the hoopla "fairly stupid" during an appearance on ABC News' "This Week."

Time has flown, and now -- would you believe it? -- Bo has been "in office" for 100 days.  To celebrate this milestone, Animal Planet has launched an interactive Web feature dedicated to the first dog, complete with a "Do you know Bo?" quiz, a photo gallery, presidential pet trivia and even first-person (first-pup?) diary entries written from Bo's point of view. 

Continue reading »

White House dog Bo knows baseball -- cards

Bo baseball card

The White House has released an official portrait of first dog Bo -- but even better than the photo, in our opinion, is the fact that it has been cleverly packaged in the form of a baseball card (you can even download a larger PDF file of it at the White House website). 

We've already learned some fun facts about Bo since he arrived at the White House in April (he knows how to shake hands, for instance, and he's a night owl who enjoys biting people's feet). 

The newly released baseball card offers some more "stats" about America's favorite Portuguese water dog, including the insight that, although Bo is a Portuguese water dog, he doesn't know how to swim. Another tidbit: Bo's favorite food is "Tomatoes -- or toys."  (Um, Mr. President, we hope you're only feeding your pup ripe tomatoes -- the green part of the plant is toxic to pets.)

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: The White House's photo stream via Flickr

Puppy Bo nearly trips Barack, but the president is saved by Michelle

In case you missed last week's "Inside The Obama White House" with NBC's Brian Williams, here's the one segment of the two-hour special that readers of this blog would be interested in: The part where Bo nearly trips the Commander in Chief in front of a small army of cameras. Fortunately for the president, first lady Michelle Obama was there to save the day.

Actually the Portuguese water dog demonstrated how well-trained he is, offering President Obama one paw and then the other in order to shake hands. Then he laid down obediently -- the dog, that is. Not the guy who promised to remove all combat troops from Iraq by August 2010, who pledged to cut back lobbyists' clout in Washington, and who vowed to acknowledge the Armenian genocide ... but we digress.

Although some were fascinated by the nearly all-access look inside the White House, Slate's Troy Patterson yawned "NBC could have provided a greater public service by showing Bo play on a PuppyCam." 

-- Tony Pierce


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


Pet Adoption Resources

Recent Posts